The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is based on a ‘60s TV series which starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum (Ducky on NCIS). Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. centers on CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) Forced to put aside their longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization from destabilizing the fragile balance of power. The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe.
Guy Ritchie signed on to direct the film after Indiewire reported in 2011 that Steven Soderbergh dropped out citing the budget wasn’t high enough to fund the 1960s-era sets and props and the multi-continental settings required. Ritchie got his groove back after divorcing Madonna; his Sherlock Holmes films put him at or near the top of A-list directors. Fifteen leading men were considered for the Napoleon Solo role, including George Clooney, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, and Tom Cruise, who dropped out for Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation. Now enter Cavill, hot off the heels of Man of Steel and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Cavill flirted with espionage before in 2012’s The Cold Light of Day and did a good job, though ads and trailers suggested it was more of a Bruce Willis film. Hammer was excellent in 2013’s The Lone Ranger, despite the overwhelming budget and underwhelming response. Both Cavill and Hammer are within a few years of each other in age, which can only make the international espionage buddy film even more believable. In theaters August 14.