From TV to big screen: “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” has UK premiere

Director Guy Ritchie and actor Henry Cavill turn out for the UK premiere of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, a big screen adaptation of the cult 1960s television series.

(WARNER BROS.) – Director Guy Ritchie is bringing Cold War espionage to the big screen with his adaptation of the cult 1960s television series, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”.

Ritchie and his newly wed wife Jacqui Ainsley, as well as screenwriter Lionel Wigram and lead actor Henry Cavill attended the film’s UK premiere at Somerset House in London on Friday (August 7), ahead of its cinematic release.

In the comedy-action film, an American con artist-turned-CIA agent named Napoleon Solo (played by Cavill) is paired with KGB operative Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organisation which is dedicated to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The rival spies recruit a young German woman, Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), whose father is one of the scientists being held to develop a powerful warhead. The film also stars Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant and Jared Harris.

With its international locations, slick outfits and retro theme, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” has been drawing comparisons to another famous secret agent, James ‘007’ Bond. But when asked whether there were any similarities, Cavill replied: “Two very different things. I mean this is something which, although it has serious undertones because it’s during the Cold War, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is a light-heartedness to it and a sort of nature of fun, which is slightly different from Bond.”

After portraying Superman in “Man of Steel” and now a Swinging Sixties spy, Cavill joked that a rockstar might have to be his next part: “Yeah, got to be a rockstar next, doesn’t it. I haven’t got anything in the pipeline to be a rockstar but you never know. Watch this space.”

The 32-year-old actor has been the source of casting rumours regarding the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sequel. But he refused to comment and said, “I can’t really talk about it right now.”

“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” premiere marked the first post-wedding event for Guy Ritchie and his bride Jacqui Ainsley. The newlyweds, who married in England last week walked the red carpet and posed for photographs.

Ritchie said he did not plan to have his nuptials and the film release at the same time.

“Well it all sort of happened in about 24 hours. But that was actually not by design, or so I’m told, maybe I was manipulated behind the scenes. Because I knew I was going to get married – I think we booked it in a couple of years ago, and the release of the film just happened to coincide with it,” he explained.

Known for his “Sherlock Holmes” franchise, the British director actually came late to the “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” project. For a while filmmaker Steven Soderbergh was attached to the Warner Bros. production but he left in November 2011. Ritchie said that when he came on board, he chose to start from scratch: “Well by the time we inherited it, there really wasn’t anything we could do with what we inherited, so we just started again. And I never really thought about the baggage that came with it.”

“If you opened up the – well the front of the script was 30 names on it and I didn’t even bother reading them,” he added.

“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” was screened for the general public at London’s historic Somerset House as part of its annual summer programme. The film rolls out globally from August 13.