Henry Cavill plays Napoleon Solo in the new movie The Man from U.N.C.L.E. directed by Guy Ritchie
Henry Cavill’s new project is Guy Ritchie’s (Lock, Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) feature adaptation of the classic 1960s TV series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which was remarkable for pairing the American character, Napoleon Solo and the Russian, Illya Kuryakin as two spies who work together for a fictitious international espionage and law-enforcement agency called U.N.C.L.E. at the height of The Cold War.
In this movie Henry Cavill plays super spy Napoleon Solo, while Armie Hammer will portray Illya Kuryakin, his fellow agent in the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.
The interesting part about this casting is that Henry actually met with the studio (Warner Bros. Pictures) for the role of Illya Kuryakin when Tom Cruise had already been in negotiations for the Napoleon Solo character. The studio obviously has a great relationship with him having worked with him on Man of Steel, so, when Cruise dropped out of the film, Henry was offered the part of Solo.
Italian actor Luca Calvani is set to play the lead villain role of Alexander. The U.N.C.L.E. character is a wealthy Italian shipping heir who smuggled Nazi gold at end of WWII. Elizabeth Debicki, who also recently worked with Warner Bros. in The Great Gatsby, will play the leading lady. In The Man from U.N.C.L.E., her role is reportedly going to be a femme fatale. Swedish actress, Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina) revealed in her interview, “I play German car mechanic from East Berlin who helps the boys [Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer]”. Hugh Grant (Cloud Atlas) plays Alexander Waverly, the U.N.C.L.E. chief.
Another addition to the cast is Jared Harris, perhaps best known for playing Sherlock Holmes' arch-enemy Professor Moriarty in Ritchie's A Game of Shadows. Harris plays the villain very well, so we may surmise that he will be the evil criminal in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. — the foe to Solo and Kuryakin's good guys. He may even be involved with T.H.R.U.S.H. and their no good ways. But, with no set role in the film at this point, we can only wait and see. Also, it is rumored that David Beckham, a former English footballer and a friend of director Guy Ritchie, may have a supporting role or make a cameo.
The screenplay is written by Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram, who also serve as producers. John Davis (Chronicle) and Steve Clark-Hall (RocknRolla, the Sherlock Holmes films) are also producing. David Dobkin is executive producer.
What do we know about the plot?
Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. centers on CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin. Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization T.H.R.U.S.H., which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe.
Henry Cavill has said in his interview, the movie is about “the Cold War and how American and Russian super spies join teams to fight international terrorism.”
We can assume the movie will be a kind of “spy comedy”. Henry Cavill said the film will have “dry humor” which he is fond of, because he doesn’t see himself as a slapstick guy. Armie Hammer in his interview also talked about how funny the script is. Finally, Armie Hammer, answering the question of if there will be some humor tucked away in there, has said: “It’s Guy Ritchie, so it’s going to have that great aspect to it of getting dark, but also ‘I like watching these two guys hate each other,’ and ‘I like watching these two guys hang out.’” That suggests at least the possibility of the “heroes meet, heroes don’t initially like each other, heroes get over their differences” story construction.
Henry Cavill’s character in this movie, Napoleon Solo, was created by Ian Fleming as a small screen version of James Bond. Solo possesses a charm, sophistication, efficiency, and weakness for beautiful women comparable to Bond’s. But, Solo is considerably less intense and also less brutal than the famous spy, and he possesses a laid-back ease that recalls the young Cary Grant.
The two characters – Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin – are, in many ways, polar opposites. Solo is urbane, self-assured, sociable, charming and laid-back. Kuryakin, on the other hand, is reserved, intellectual and intense. Although we know almost as little about his background as we do of his Russian partner, Solo comes across as the more accessible and straightforward of the two men. He dressed well and had a taste for expensive suits and ties.
It is stated that Solo served in the Korean War. Nothing much is known about his immediate family, although it appears one of his grandfathers was an admiral, the other was an ambassador. He is college-educated. Like his partner Kuryakin, he has a wide knowledge of English poetry. Unlike his partner, he lacks a broad knowledge of science and technology. He is skilled in martial arts; he can fly a plane and a helicopter.
Like Bond, Henry Cavill’s character is a serial womanizer. His charm and social skills are his most potent weapons, allowing him to manipulate almost every situation to his own advantage. He is keenly aware of his abilities in this area. Solo is also an indefatigable optimist that rarely, if ever, countenances the idea that he might not succeed in everything he attempts. He also has a cool head. Unlike his Russian associate, he rarely exhibits anger or loses his temper.
If the movie story carries similar characters as the original description, then the part of Napoleon Solo sounds tailor-made for Henry Cavill.
As for the leading lady, Elizabeth Debicki said, her role is a substantial one, certainly to the plot and storyline, and added: “Armie and Henry are really the leads as they are in the original TV series and there are baddies and goodies on either side of them.”
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. filming took place in WB's Leavesden Studios outside of London, England, with location filming also in Italy, in Rome and Naples. Production began in early September and wrapped in early December 2013.
The first scenes of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. were shot in London's Regents Park and in some of London's streets. Then the production moved to the port of Pozzuoli in Italy. Warner Bros. chose the Pier Caligula with the background of Pozzuoli Rione Terra to shoot some action scenes that were held September 23 to 30.
Not only Pozzuoli, also Bacoli was the location for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The filmmakers have chosen as the scene for filming the beach in front of 'Villa Ferretti', property confiscated from the mafia, the Castle of Baia and Misenum Cape tunnel.
The filming in Phlegraean area lasted from 25th to 27th September. The first location was at Castle Baia and then continued on to the bayfront Villa Ferretti (see the photos from set). In this scene, at least according to the script, Special Forces members assault the beach in thirty rafts, in pursuit of an international criminal hiding in the halls of the Aragonese fortress. The criminal attempt to escape in a car, giving way to a chase through the streets of Bacoli to the tunnel of the lighthouse in Misano. The filming of this exciting sequence involves more than forty trucks with equipment and sets, 180 technical staff and 2 helicopters for aerial shots. According to commissioner Sergio Vetrella, “The producers have expressed strong appreciation for the Phlegraean area, deeming it an ideal location for the construction of the set. Several scenes then show some of the most beautiful places that the region has to offer: the beach of Baia, the famous Aragonese Castle, and Molo Caligula, in the context of the historic and picturesque Rione Terra Pozzuoli.”
Some scenes of the movie filmed in the central Italian province of Viterbo. The director is set to use the aristocratic Palazzo Farnese in the town of Caprarola for parts of the picture. The Viterbo scenes were filmed between at the end of September.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. filming in Rome lasted from 1st to 10th October (see the photos from set: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). After that, the filming continued at Hankley Common, in Farnboro and Goodwood in England, and then some action scenes were shot at the Old Royal Navy College, Greenwich, and at the Historic Dockyard Chatham. The last scenes of the film, including underwater stunts, were filmed at Warner Bros. Leavesden Studios. Henry Cavill wrapped his work on the set of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. on November, 30.
'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' Release Dates
The movie will be released in January, 2015. Here's the list of regions with the slated dates we have at the moment:
- 15th January — Germany *, Netherlands, Portugal *, Switzerland *
- 16th January — U.S. *
- 16th January — UK, Ireland *
- 21st January — France *
- 22nd January — Argentina *, Russia *
- 6th February — Spain *
This film has been looking long and hard for its leading man going all the way back when George Clooney was attached to star and Steven Soderbergh was attached to direct. After they both left the project, Warner Brothers approached several actors to star including Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum, Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper but in each of the cases they either passed or could not make their dates work.
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We are looking forward to following the developments of the story, the characters and the filming of the movie. Keep checking back here and at our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter) for updates and information about Henry Cavill, his character of Napoleon Solo and the latest filming developments.