British director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) premieres his action-comedy-spy film, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. this week. The film revives the 1960’s TV series of the same name, which ran from 1964 to 1968. The series starred the handsome duo of Robert Vaughn (main lead Napoleon Solo) and David McCallum (Russian sidekick Ilya Kuryakin, now known best for his role as the medical examiner “Ducky” Mallard in CBS’s long-running NCIS) as two secret agents working for the spy agency, U.N.C.L.E. The series spun off a less successful TV show The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. which ran from 1966-1967, starring Stefanie Powers in the eponymous role.
The 2015 Warner Bros. film stars Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) in the role of Solo and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger) as Kuryakin. The duo must overcome their mutual dislike to stop a diabolical plan by a mysterious criminal group to seize power with nuclear weapons in a 1960’s Cold War setting. Others in the cast include Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), and Hugh Grant (Cloud Atlas).
There is something delightfully special about knowing secrets, such as what U.N.C.L.E. stands for. Particularly in the acronym-filled world building of contemporary franchise filmmaking. U.N.C.L.E. joins Marvel stand-by S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law Enforcement Division) and the re-branding of sinister organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (SPecial Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extrortion) in the upcoming James Bond feature Spectre. U.N.C.L.E. stands for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Now you know.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. will be released on August 14, 2015.