Apr 25, 2013

Tradecraft: U.N.C.L.E. Tom Finds His Illya

It looks like the Tom Cruise version of Warner Bros.' troubled, long-gestating Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature film is indeed moving forward. And the studio may have found the Illya Kuryakin to Cruise's Napoleon Solo, according to Deadline. The trade blog reports that The Social Network and Lone Ranger star Armie Hammer "is set" to play the Russian secret agent originated on the classic Sixties TV show by David McCallum. The age difference between Cruise, 50, and Hammer, 27, is interesting. While McCallum was brought onto the show as a young heartthrob with teen appeal, he was only a year younger than Robert Vaughn, who played Solo. Presumably the new dynamic will be more of a mentor/student relationship rather than equal partners. Sherlock Holmes helmer Guy Ritchie is attached to direct. I'm still curious to know if Ritchie's version is set in the 1960s, which was Steven Soderbergh's plan for the franchise when he was set to launch it. Personally, I hope so! (At the very least, that will help differentiate U.N.C.L.E. from Cruise's other spy franchise based on a Sixties series, the contemporary Mission: Impossible.)


Bob said...

Let's see, according to IMDB, Hammer is 6'5" and Mr. Cruise is 5'7". I'm sure the two of them will work well together and see eye to eye!

teeritz said...

It would make sense to set it in the '60s, in order to, as you say, separate it a little from TC's other spy franchise, but also to ride along the wave of '60s nostalgia created by "Mad Men". Not only that, but a 1960s setting didn't hurt "X-Men:First Class", either. Looks like Mr. Cruise gets to play Bond after all, since I'm assuming Napoleon Solo will be wearing suits and maybe a dinner jacket here and there.
On the down-side, do you remember in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when Indy gets to the Well of the Souls and it's filled with snakes? He sighs and says; "Snakes. Why it have to be snakes?"
I said the same thing when I read this article. Only I replaced the word 'snakes' with 'Cruise'.
Ahh well, any big budget spy film is still a good thing I suppose.
Thanks for the post!

Elliot James said...

This is terrible news. Can't they leave UNCLE alone and come up with something original? Remember The Wild Wild West with Will Smith? I Spy with Eddie Murphy? The Avengers with Umma Thurman?

Elliot James said...

Get Smart with Steve Carrell. The Mod Squad with Claire Danes. The Saint with Val Kilmer. Starsky and Hutch (ugh)

Tanner said...

I wouldn't have pegged you for a pessimist, Elliot! True, there are a lot of stinkers to come from feature remakes of Sixties TV shows. A LOT. But then for every... seven or so like you mention (though personally I actually wouldn't lump I Spy in with those; I like that one!), occasionally you get a Fugitive or a Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. (And, admittedly, it took them four tries to get it right with that franchise.) I live in hope that this U.N.C.L.E. movie will turn out to be one of the good ones! And if it's not, well, we've always got the show. That Will Smith disaster did nothing to dampen my enjoyment of the series, all of which I can enjoy on DVD. Sure, the odds are against it... but I'd rather see someone try than not, and I'd rather see more spies on the big screen anyway! And if they do set it in the Sixties, that will be something setting this one apart from the pack already.