Friday, 28 February 2014

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. release date announced

It's had a long journey to the screen, losing both Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney along the way, but now the Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie is finally within sight. Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) is directing, with Henry Cavill (Man Of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger) playing the leads, and now the film has a release date: spying on our cinema screens from 16 January next year.

That window also means it will be opening against Michael Mann's Cyber; the Paul McGuigan / Max Landis Frankenstein; and Kevin Hart comedy The Wedding Ringer. Don't be fooled into thinking that January is the film dumping ground it used to be either. The Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, whilst not cashing in summer money numbers, has become an important date on the multiplex calendar, and this year provided reasons to celebrate for Ride Along, Lone Survivor and The Nut Job. But it can also be a gamble, as the team behind Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit can testify.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E., of course, updates the light hearted spy series that ran for 105 episodes between 1964 and 1968, with Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as the smooth American Napoleon Solo and the intense Russian Illya Kuryakin. U.N.C.L.E. was an international intelligence agency – the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. Their chief antagonists were the agents of T.H.R.U.S.H. – the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity (although that acronym was never actually revealed in the series). The series also spawned a sister in The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., several cinema releases of expanded TV episodes, and a reunion TV movie in 1983.

Cavill plays Solo and Hammer as Kuryakin in this iteration, with Hugh Grant (Cloud Atlas) as U.N.C.L.E. head Mr Waverley. Jared Harris (Lincoln), Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina) and Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby) will also be showing up for the party. The screenplay is by Ritchie and Lionel Wigram (Sherlock Holmes), ditching the Scott Z. Burns draft from the Soderbergh days.

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