Solo Gets Encore

I don’t really believe the public is clamoring for an U.N.C.L.E. movie, much less one starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. But Variety says that’s what we’re getting.

Yes, count on Armie Hammer to bring to the role of Ilya Kuryakin everything we liked about his Lone Ranger. Surely there must have been something. The script calls for Cavill’s Napoleon Solo to be initially hostile toward Hammer’s character. Now there’s something nobody will have any trouble believing. And count on the critics to take up where he leaves off.

But who will be agency chief Alexander Waverly? Robert Vaughn, who played Solo on TV, says he hasn’t been contacted about the part. Many fans would like to see Vaughn in character finishing his U.N.C.L.E. career as Waverly’s successor. (Leo G. Carroll, who originated Waverly, died in 1972.)

513px-Robert_Vaughn_David_McCallum_Man_from_UNCLE_1966It’s been a long time since U.N.C.L.E was on any screen, big or small. Vaughn and David McCallum reprised their roles in 1983 for CBS’ TV movie The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. And a few years later, when the A-Team was on its last legs, Robert Vaughn came aboard to play General Hunt Stockwell, the federal spymaster who picked their assignments. The role was an overt reference to his old series, and his debut episode “The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair” also cast David McCallum as a Russian (“Ivan Trigorin”). Of course, it would be a struggle to believe McCallum doing a Russian accent these days, after watching him so long as the idiocyncratic Scottish medical examiner on NCIS.

David Klaus says his dream cast for an U.N.C.L.E. movie is George Clooney as Napoleon Solo, Orlando Bloom as Illya Kuryakin, and Patrick Stewart as Alexander Waverly (Ian McKellen would also suit him as Number 1, Section 1.)

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

Update 08/05/2013: Fixed McKellen reference per comment.

10 thoughts on “Solo Gets Encore

  1. I’m sorry I didn’t make clear that Alexander Waverly was Number One of Section One — I thought you knew that. What I meant was that if Sir Patrick wasn’t in the role, Sir Ian could perform it admirably as well.

    Patrick Macnee (best known as John Steed on The Avengers was Leo G. Carroll’s successor in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.

    Here’s the fan-made titles for the Clooney/Bloom/Stewart suggested reboot:

    I tried to embed it two different ways, but if they don’t work here’s the link: http://youtu.be/vd6x-TZ–Bc

  2. There’s a bit of U.N.C.L.E. trivia I should have learned when the show was in first run!

  3. David McDaniel, who wrote 7 of the Ace “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” novels, in the “Final Affair” (wrote it, but Ace never published it) had Waverly killed in a final fight with THRUSH, and Solo ended up taking over his job.

    So Robert Vaughn doing the role for a film would be pretty much the right thing.

  4. The only likely reason they’re making it is because those crappy Mission Impossible movies with Tom Cruise are money makers. I used to like MI … and Man From Uncle. Well … they ruined MI by turning lovable, father figure Mr. Phelps into the bad guy and substituting the hated Tom Cruise as good guy, but maybe we’ll be luckier with Man From Uncle and it’ll bomb. Approrpriate term, come to think of it.

  5. Taral: Did you look at the linked article — Tom Cruise was lined up to play Napoleon Solo in this production ’til recently.

  6. The NBC website recently offered free viewing of the U.N.C.L.E.-themed A-Team episode so I watched the first 15 minutes. David McCallum didn’t seem to be working that hard on his Russian accent — of course, he’s been out of his native country for quite awhile by the date of this story.

  7. In one episode of NCIS, someone muses what “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum’s character) looked like as a young man, and gets the reply “He looked like Illya Kuryakin.”

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