The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (film)

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For the original 1960s TV series, see The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Guy Ritchie
  • Lionel Wigram
Story by
Based on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 
by Sam Rolfe
Starring
Music by Daniel Pemberton
Cinematography John Mathieson
Edited by James Herbert
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • August 7, 2015 (2015-08-07) (London premiere)
  • August 14, 2015 (2015-08-14) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes[1]
Country United States[2]
Language English
Russian
German
Italian
Budget $75 million[3]
Box office $109.8 million[4]

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a 2015 American action comedy adventure spy film directed by Guy Ritchie, and co-written by Lionel Wigram and Ritchie, based on the 1964 MGM television series of the same name, which was created by Ian Fleming, Norman Felton and Sam Rolfe. The film stars Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki with Jared Harris and Hugh Grant. The film was produced by RatPac-Dune Entertainment and Davis Entertainment.

In 1993, John Davis obtained the rights for a film adaptation based on the original series. However, the film fell into development hell due to multiple script rewrites. Over the years, Matthew Vaughn, David Dobkin and Steven Soderbergh were optioned for directing until Ritchie signed on in March 2013. The film premiered at London on August 7, 2015 and was released on August 14 by Warner Bros. Pictures, grossing over $109 million worldwide against a $75 million budget. Vikander, with a number of films that year, won awards from three different critics associations for Actor of the Year and Breakthrough Film Artist. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 17, 2015 by Warner Home Video.

Plot[edit]

In 1963, professional thief-turned CIA agent Napoleon Solo extracts Gaby Teller, daughter of Dr. Udo Teller, an alleged Nazi scientist-turned United States collaborator at the end of World War II, from East Berlin, evading KGB operative Illya Kuryakin. He later reports to his superior, Saunders, who reveals that Gaby's maternal uncle Rudy works in a shipping company owned by Alexander and Victoria Vinciguerra, a wealthy Nazi sympathizing couple who intend to use Teller to build their own private nuclear weapon and give it to lingering Nazi elements. Due to the potentially world-ending nature of this crisis, the CIA and KGB have reluctantly teamed up, and Solo and Kuryakin are ordered to stop the Vinciguerras from succeeding, with both men secretly assigned to steal Udo Teller's research for their respective governments.

The trio travels to Rome, where Gaby and Kuryakin reluctantly pose as an engaged couple, and Solo pretends to be an antiquities dealer. Solo deduces they are being monitored and instructs Kuryakin not to defend himself from muggers so as to preserve this cover. Despite their hostilities towards each other, Kuryakin heeds his advice and does not react when his father’s prized watch is stolen. Later, at an auto racing event promoted by the Vinciguerras, Solo and Gaby flirt with Victoria and Alexander, respectively, in order to lure out information about Teller. Meanwhile Kuryakin acquires evidence the Vinciguerras were recently exposed to radiation, indicating that their weapon is near completion.

Solo and Kuryakin begrudgingly join forces to break into a Vinciguerra shipping yard, in which they find traces of uranium. After accidentally setting off the alarm, they escape into the water only to find their way blocked. During the ensuing scuffle with the guards, Kuryakin nearly drowns in the waters but Solo escapes, only to surprise himself by returning to save Kuryakin. Although a suspicious Victoria pursues them with her henchmen, Solo and Kuryakin manage to slip past into their own rooms undetected, and Victoria and Solo spend the night together. The following day, Gaby meets with Rudi and Alexander to discuss a job, but unexpectedly betrays Kuryakin and Solo to them, forcing Kuryakin to escape, while Solo is drugged and captured by Victoria and taken to a nearby warehouse to be tortured in an electric chair by Rudi, who is revealed as an infamous Nazi torturer. Solo is saved by Kuryakin, who straps Rudi into the electric chair, in order to intimidate him into talking. Rudi reveals that the weapon is hidden in an island fortress, where Gaby has been reunited with her father, which is where Solo and Kuryakin head off to, with Rudi unintentionally being burnt alive due to the electric chair malfunctioning. To protect Gaby, Dr. Teller pretends to resume work on the weapon, which has a tracking system left over from when the warhead was non-nuclear, so that a second missile can home in on it for added impact, but although Gaby attempts to help her father escape and sabotage the warhead. Victoria quickly sees through this deception, and has Alexander imprison Gaby, as an extra incentive for Dr. Teller. Teller quickly adds the finishing touches to the bomb, but is then shot in the head by Victoria as soon as he does.

Meanwhile, Solo and Kuryakin are approached by Alexander Waverly, a high-ranking MI6 operative who flies them on a Westland Wessex to HMS Ark Royal (R09) and reveals that Gaby is an undercover agent under his employ. He and his Special Boat Service commandos help Solo and Kuryakin infiltrate the Vinciguerras’ compound. Alexander Vinciguerra attempts to escape with Gaby and the warhead, but is intercepted and Alexander is killed by the duo. Solo secretly retrieves the disc with Teller’s research, but the warhead Vinciguerra was taking with him was the non-nuclear secondary missile, allowing Victoria to leave undetected on another boat with the real warhead. By Gaby's suggestion, having heard the weapon system explained, Solo is able to contact Victoria via radio and keep her on the line long enough for Waverly to locate her and launch the homing missile, simultaneously destroying the nuclear weapon and the boat, taking Victoria with it.

Afterwards, Kuryakin confronts Solo in his hotel room, intending to kill him and steal the disc for the Soviet Union, but changes his mind when Solo produces Kuryakin's father’s stolen watch, which he had retrieved. The two instead choose to share a drink on the terrace and burn the contents of the disk, so as to not give either of their countries the upper hand in the arms race. They then reunite with Gaby and Waverly, who reveals that the trio has been reassigned to a new international organization under his command. He then announces a new mission to Istanbul under their new codename: U.N.C.L.E..

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Producer John Davis optioned the film rights to the 1960s TV series in 1993, setting up a development deal for an adaptation with Warner Bros. and series producer Norman Felton. Davis has estimated that he commissioned 12 or 14 different scripts over the course of 20 years, with writers Jim and John Thomas, John Requa, Glenn Ficarra, and Scott Z. Burns. Quentin Tarantino was briefly attached following the success of Pulp Fiction, but opted to make Jackie Brown instead. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. continued to labor in development hell with directors Matthew Vaughn and David Dobkin.[5] Steven Soderbergh was attached to direct Scott Z. Burns' screenplay, with production slated to begin in March 2012. Executives from Warner Bros. wanted the budget to stay below $60 million, but Soderbergh felt that amount would not be adequate to fund the 1960s-era sets, props, and international settings required for the film.[6] Emily Blunt was nearly cast as the female lead,[7] but Soderbergh departed in November 2011.[8]

Guy Ritchie signed on in March 2013.[9] On July 31, 2013, it was announced that Ritchie's adaptation would start filming in September 2013 in London and Italy.[10][11] The final production budget was approximately $75 million US.

Casting[edit]

In November 2010, George Clooney showed interest in the film,[12] and was in talks for the lead role of Napoleon Solo, but he left in September 2011 due to a recurring back injury.[13][14] After Clooney's departure, actors including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum, Alexander Skarsgård, Ewan McGregor, Robert Pattinson, Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Kinnaman, Russell Crowe, Chris Pine, Ryan Reynolds, and Jon Hamm were considered for the lead role.[15] On March 18, 2013, Tom Cruise was in early talks to take the lead in the film.[9] Armie Hammer was cast in the second lead role as Illya Kuryakin on April 24, 2013, with Cruise set as Solo.[16] Swedish actress Alicia Vikander joined the film on May 8, 2013, as the female lead.[17] On May 23, 2013, Cruise dropped out of the film, due to his commitment to Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.[18][19] British actor Henry Cavill replaced Cruise.[20][21][22] Elizabeth Debicki was cast in a femme fatale role on July 31, 2013; Rose Byrne and Charlize Theron were earlier considered for the same part.[23] On August 8, 2013, Hugh Grant joined the cast as Alexander Waverly, the head of United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E).[24] Jared Harris was cast as Saunders on September 4, 2013,[25] and Luca Calvani was cast as a villain, Alexander.[26] Simona Caparrini was also cast to play Contessa.[27]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography on the film commenced on September 9, 2013.[28] In October 2013, filming was being under way at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, Royal Victoria Docks, London and Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit in West Sussex, UK.

Filming took place in various locations throughout Italy, including the Gulf of Naples, and Baiae Castle.[29] Kuryakin and Teller's first outings as an assumed couple were shot at just below the Spanish Steps; the Grand Hotel Plaza, in Via del Corso; and in the gardens of ancient Theater of Marcellus.

Two locations stood in place for Berlin sites on either side of the wall: the public toilet fight between Solo and Kuryakin was shot in Regent's Park in London, while the car chase during the movie's first act was shot in Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent UK. [30][31][32]

Director Guy Ritchie finalized the script throughout production: "He’s quite intuitive and tends to constantly rewrite stuff, which he does even when they’re shooting. He’ll rewrite things in the morning if they’re shooting that day, working with the actors if something doesn’t feel right." says long term collaborator David Allcock.[33]

Music[edit]

The musical score for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was composed by Daniel Pemberton.[34] A soundtrack album was released by WaterTower Music on August 7, 2015.[35]

Release[edit]

The film was originally set for a January 16, 2015 release,[36] but on August 12, 2014, Warner Bros moved the film's release date to August 14, 2015.[37]

Home media[edit]

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 17, 2015 by Warner Home Video.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

As of October 22, 2015, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has grossed $45.4 million in North America and $61.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $109.6 million, against a budget of $75 million.[4]

The film grossed $900,000 from its early Thursday screenings and $4.8 million on its opening day. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $13.4 million, which was about $5 million below expectations, finishing 3rd at the box office.[38]

It opened in Russia with $3.1 million.[39] In the United Kingdom, it opened alongside Sony Pictures' Pixels, earning $2.3 million, debuting at No. 4 for Friday-Sunday, while Pixels was at No. 1 with $4.2 million, including previews during the week. Warner Bros did not preview The Man from U.N.C.L.E.[39] Across Asia, it generated $2.7 million from six countries and $1.7 million in Australia.[39]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 68%, based on 224 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E. tries to distract from an unremarkable story with charismatic stars and fizzy set pieces, adding up to an uneven action thriller with just enough style to overcome its lack of substance."[40] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 55 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[41] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[42]

Accolades[edit]

Awards
Award Date of Ceremony Category Recipient Outcome
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards January 7, 2016 Actor of the Year
(for an exemplary body of work)
Alicia Vikander (for Burnt, The Danish Girl, Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Seventh Son, and Testament of Youth) Won
Breakthrough Film Artist Won
Georgia Film Critics Association Awards January 8, 2016 Breakthrough Award Alicia Vikander (for Burnt, The Danish Girl, Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Testament of Youth) Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards December 14, 2015 Body of Work Alicia Vikander (for Burnt, The Danish Girl, Ex Machina, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) Won

Soundtrack[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)". BFI. 
  3. ^ Lang, Brent (August 16, 2015). "Box Office: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Debuts to Scorching $56.1 Million". Variety. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 8, 2016. 
  5. ^ Jon Burlingame (July 31, 2013). "Guy Ritchie, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer Try to Crack U.N.C.L.E. Movie Challenge". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Steven Soderbergh Spies Other Plans, Won't Direct 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'". indiewire.com. November 18, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  7. ^ Justin Kroll (April 16, 2012). "Blunt joins Cruise in ‘All You Need Is Kill’". Variety. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Steven Soderbergh Exits Warner Bros.' 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.'". hollywoodreporter.com. November 18, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Tom Cruise Eyeing 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' With Guy Ritchie At Warner Bros". deadline.com. March 18, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Finally Starts Filming in September". comingsoon.net. July 31, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  11. ^ "‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ aims to start filming in September". hitfix.com. August 2, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  12. ^ "George Clooney Interested in Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ Remake". slashfilm.com. November 17, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  13. ^ "George Clooney Dropping Out Of Steven Soderbergh’s ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’". deadline.com. August 29, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  14. ^ "George Clooney back injury forced 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' exit, says writer". digitalspy.co.uk. September 7, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Bradley Cooper Will Not Be Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’". slashfilm.com. November 10, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  16. ^ "‘Lone Ranger’ Armie Hammer To Star With Tom Cruise In ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’". deadline.com. April 24, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Alicia Vikander Finds Her ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ for Warners". variety.com. May 8, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Tom Cruise Exits 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' Due to 'Mission: Impossible 5'". firstshowing.net. May 24, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Tom Cruise Exits ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.;’ Warner Bros Recasting For Fall Start". deadline.com. May 24, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  20. ^ "‘Man of Steel’ Star Henry Cavill Eyes Lead in WB’s ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’". variety.com. May 28, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  21. ^ Burlingame, Jon (July 31, 2013). "Guy Ritchie, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer Try to Crack ‘U.N.C.L.E.’ Movie Challenge". Variety. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Henry Cavill In Talks For ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ Lead". deadline.com. May 28, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  23. ^ "‘Great Gatsby’s’ Elizabeth Debicki Attracted to ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’". variety.com. July 31, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Hugh Grant Joins 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.'". hollywoodreporter.com. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  25. ^ Rebecca Ford (September 3, 2013). "Jared Harris Joins 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  26. ^ "Luca Calvani Lands Villain In ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.,’ Signs With Paradigm". deadline.com. September 12, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Simona Caparrini Talks About Henry Cavill on Set of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.". www.HenryCavill.org. February 27, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Production begins on 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'". gmanetwork.com. September 11, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  29. ^ Katie Amey (July 24, 2015). "From the iconic Piazza de Spagna in Rome to the picturesque Bay of Naples: New Guy Ritchie film The Man From U.N.C.L.E. highlights Italy's breathtaking beauty spots". Daily Mail. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  30. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office The Man from U.N.C.L.E Article". 
  31. ^ "Locations by IMDB". 
  32. ^ "Location by Atlas of Wonders". 
  33. ^ "Conversation Catch Up with David Allcock". 
  34. ^ "Daniel Pemberton to Score Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’". filmmusicreporter.com. July 17, 2014. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  35. ^ "The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved August 24, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Warner Bros Dates ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ For 2015 MLK Weekend; Will Smith’s ‘Focus’ Set For February 2015". deadline.com. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  37. ^ "Warner Bros. Dates ‘American Sniper'; Moves ‘Point Break’, ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E’". deadline.com. August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  38. ^ Gregg Kilday (August 16, 2015). "Box Office: 'Straight Outta Compton' Breaks Out With Massive $56.1M". The Hollywood Reporter. (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  39. ^ a b c Nancy Tartaglione (August 16, 2015). "‘Rogue Nation’ Revs Up $46M More; ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ Spies $12M; ‘Brothers’ Shows Muscle – Intl B.O. Update". Deadline.com. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  40. ^ "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  41. ^ "The Man from U.N.C.L.E. reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  42. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (August 15, 2015). "‘Compton’ Rivals Previous August Tentpoles With $22.8M Friday; ‘U.N.C.L.E.’ Shows Gray Hair – Late Night B.O.". Deadline.com. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved August 15, 2015. 

External links[edit]