Turning a '60s television show into a major motion picture is a risky proposition. While it has worked on occasion, like in the cases of The Fugitive or Mission: Impossible, far more often the end result has been a disaster. Bewitched, Dark Shadows, The Green Hornet, Lost in Space, Get Smart… the list goes on and on. Even one of the successes — The Brady Bunch Movie — had to resort to parody to make it work. The spotty track record hasn't stopped studios from developing properties that they already own, mostly because it's a cheap way to get source material. This is how Guy Ritchie's latest movie ended up being a reworking of the nearly forgotten '60s spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E..
In the original, Robert Vaughn starred as Napoleon Solo (one of the coolest TV character names ever), with NCIS's David McCallum as Illya Kuryakinm, his Russian partner in spying for the international United Network Command for Law Enforcement. At the height of the Cold War, it was a sensational prospect to have agents from the United States and Soviet Union working together to thwart a secret evil organization called THRUST.
Ritchie, however, has experience with making material that could easily be antiquated into something more in tune with a modern audience. After all, he turned Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law into a pair of bare-knuckle brawlers in his Sherlock Holmes films. Who's to say that the British director can't turn Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger) into a badass version of Solo and Kuryakin? Sure, the fact that both Cavill and Hammer have failed to engage audiences when they've headlined big budget fare should be a concern, but Ritchie was married to Madonna and once had Brad Pitt go an entire movie talking in an unintelligible Irish accent… he's not above taking on a challenge.
The main thing that The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has going for it — much like Mission: Impossible — is that espionage really never goes out of style. Deceit, disguises and gadgets make for some handy story building blocks no matter what the set-up is. The trick is almost to ignore much of what came before in the original television show and start from scratch. Reportedly, Ritchie is keeping the story set in the '60s, but hopefully that won't steer his story too rigidly. The best movies based on TV shows, like The Fugitive, make people almost entirely forget where the story came from.
The worst mistake that Ritchie could make would be to try to be too jokey with the material. What comes out of a lot of the television-to-movie projects is that the participants are embarrassed to be doing them and almost feel the need to make fun of their source. Ritchie has proven himself adept at adding touches of humor to his films, usually amidst a steady stream of fights and explosions. For U.N.C.L.E., any jokes need to naturally flow out of the story and action… try to force anything and suddenly the film's either a parody or a pale imitation of the original.
It's an uphill battle to get audiences to care about something that their grandparents watched on television, but Ritchie has more of a chance to pull it off than most. If he can make the 1870s look cool, just think what he can do with London at the beginning of the swinging '60s. Even if Cavill and Hammer haven't yet earned the benefit of the doubt, their director has.
Russell Crowe picked up a prestigious acting prize ahead of the Italian premiere of his latest movie Man Of Steel at the Taormina Film Festival on Saturday (15Jun13). Man of Steel stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon, and the film's director Zack Snyder, were on hand to support Crowe as he was presented with the Taormina Arte accolade at the 59th annual movie event.
Crowe then impressed the audience at the Teatro Antico venue by delivering his acceptance speech in Italian, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
He told the crowd, "This is my first time in Sicily, and you are already giving me an award. I should come here more often."
Referring to his 2000 blockbuster Gladiator, he then added, "I have always had a deep love for Italy, even before I became a gladiator."
Crowe plays Superman's biological father Jor-El in Snyder's new blockbuster.
The Taormina Film Festival will wrap up on 22 June (13) with a screening of Johnny Depp's new movie The Lone Ranger.
When Tom Cruise opted to call it quits on The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the studio must have panicked. First Clooney, then Cruise. The bar had been placed incredibly high. Few men could contend with the gravitas of the actors who previously occupied the spy feature's lead role of Napoleon Solo. What they'd need is a real hero. Someone existing well beyond the realm of mortal stardom. A bona fide super... fella. They'd need Henry Cavill, who, as Variety reports, is in negotiations for the part.
While the Man of Steel star is still only sprouting as a Hollywood name, his turn in the highly anticipated Superman picture could cement him as the next big thing. With a character both as iconic and as fragile as Clark Kent, an impressive performance by Cavill could cement him the kind of celebrity Christian Bale won after reinventing and re-immortalizing Batman.
If Cavill does indeed climb aboard, he'll be joining another rising star, The Lone ranger's Armie Hammer, along with established adrenaline aficionado, director Guy Ritchie. Meanwhile, Cruise is focusing his energies on Mission: Impossible 5. So, we're pretty much covered for fast-paced action-adventures.
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Jack Porter is out for blood. When Revenge returns on Sunday, March 10, the new widower will retreat to a dark place following the death of his wife, Amanda, at the hands of Nate Ryan (and on the orders of Conrad Grayson). Nick Wechsler, who plays the grieving husband, told Hollywood.com at The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences "An Evening With Revenge" panel that Jack's grief will take him down a dark path in the new episode, "Retribution."
"He’s f***ing heartbroken," Wechsler says. "And that causes him to go do some dark, adult stuff that he’s never considered before — certainly things we’ve never seen him do before. So he’s setting out to set this right... He’s going dark. He’s wising up and being more active in his own life, because he’s always been a more passive participant in his own story. He’s starting to set out and do some things and seek information and try to make some bad things happen to bad people."
Creator and exec producer Mike Kelley also confirmed during the event that Amanda's death will definitely change Jack going forward. "In the next episode, Jack is a changed man," Kelley says. "A lot of sh**'s going down and he's going to start punching back." Seems like Jack Porter is out to get some revenge of his own!
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As if Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) didn't already have enough on her plate at the moment (taking down the Graysons, destroying the Initiative, avenging Amanda's death, etc.), the changes in her soulmate Jack will raise the stakes for her. And VanCamp tells the panel audience that the emotional aspect of the story is what will bring the rest of Season 2 back to the basics of what made Season 1 so great.
"The [writers are] really trying to refocus the show so it's about the emotional aspects of the characters we love versus introducing all these new people. I think we got lost a little bit in that," VanCamp admits. "Now we have this great opportunity to refocus as we start to dig a little deeper into everyone’s past. It's more about emotional twists and turns versus explosive ones, and we're going to find out a lot of things about all the characters."
One character we will learn more about is the Queen of the Hamptons herself, Mrs. Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe). Kelley revealed during the panel that we're about to get a deeper look into what happened after Victoria's mother kicked her to the curb when she was just a young girl. "We will see how Victoria came from basically the streets to how and where she is now," Kelley says.
And as for that pesky Initiative arc that fans and critics haven't exactly been enjoying this season? You can rest easy, because Josh Bowman, the man behind Daniel Grayson, assures Hollywood.com that we won't have to suffer through it much longer. "The Initiative storyline is going to come to a conclusion, which I think everyone is more or less looking forward to," Bowman says. "We’re going to come back to what the first season was about, which is the original cast and and where are they going — why is Emily there? — and you’re going to see that over the next few episodes."
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But what does that mean for Daniel, since he is firmly under the Initiative's thumb as the CEO of Grayson Global? "He’s definitely onto the scent of what everyone around him is doing, and he doesn’t trust anybody," Bowman says. "He is a lot more ruthless and probably a lot more successful, and with that comes power and with that comes the ego, and that stems from his vulnerability of actually not knowing what the hell is going on."
Romantically, however, things are looking up for Daniel. "You’ll see a return to romance with one of two people," Bowman says. "It’s going to be a little bit more possessive." Does that mean Daniel is rekindling a romance with Emily or Ashley (Ashley Madekwe)? We're placing our bets on Emily, but not for any real romantic reasons. "Any love that she had for Daniel in the first season, any possible love she had for Daniel has just vaporized into thin air," Bowman says, "and she’s just hell bent on revenge now and uses me as an access key to carry out her mission."
As if the Hamptons weren't already filled with enough drama, don't be surprised when one more scandal breaks. "Someone had an abortion," Bowman reveals. "That’s always fun to hear about."
Cue the dramatic music, and tune in to Revenge this Sunday night at 9 PM ET/PT on ABC.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Danny Feld/ABC]
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When the long-awaited DC Comics film Justice League finally comes to fruition, audiences will undoubtedly revel in the glorious heroism of the crime-fighting, humanity-saving forces onscreen: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the like. A troupe of characters so wholly admirable that they in turn deserve performers equally as gallant to take on the task of portraying them. Talks have attached Armie Hammer to take over as the Dark Knight for this ensemble picture, and we can see why — dude is a bona fide hero. E! reports that Hammer was among several individuals who provided assistance to strangers following a car accident on Friday night.
Model Leann Tweeden, who was also among the good Samaritans who came to the aid of troubled parties after a crash on her busy street corner, revealed to E! that Hammer was a member of the ad-hoc rescue party."It's me and this guy helping the woman (2 other girls are there. One was a witness on her Vespa. The other in her car in the parking lot of the flower shop.) ... When the guy turns around, who is it?!!!! None other than: ARMIE HAMMER!!!!! (Yes, from The Social Network, J. Edgar and the upcoming The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp!) ... The cutie Armie was in the opposite turn lane in his Audi and watched the whole thing go down and got out of his car to help."Bam. Hero. Batman status. As you can imagine, we're pretty sold on the Winklevoss taking on the role of Bruce Wayne in the developing DC assembly. And luckily, there are enough other day-savers in the acting game to comprise the rest of the cast. Check it out, Warner Bros, we've done all your casting for you.
Kate Winslet as Wonder Woman
Remember when Rose DeWitt Bukater saved two children and Richard Branson's mother from a burning building on the millionaire's private island? That's worthy of landing her the role of Diana Prince.
Patrick Dempsey as Green Lantern
Back in April, Dempsey helped saved a 17-year-old Malibu resident from his flipped car, using a crowbar and a fire extinguisher as his tools. Imagine if he had the Power Ring: that kid would have been out in seconds flat.
Anderson Cooper as The Flash
I know he's not an actor, but he is the best human to ever live. Remember when Anderson Cooper halted a news report of the atrocities in Haiti to tend to a wounded young boy? We dub thee Barry Allen.
T.I. as Aquaman
In a different turn of events, rapper T.I. once talked a man out of killing himself. Speaking to the man through a video stream, T.I. convinced the man (who was planning on jumping off a building in Atlanta) to come down to safety, promising to speak with him and encouraging to seek psychiatric help.
Werner Herzog as The Martian Manhunter
Dude got shot mid-interview with the press (we say "mid" because he actually insisted on continuing the interview), and once saved Joaquin Phoenix from a burning car. Werner freakin' Herzog.
Ryan Gosling as Superman
Because who else could pull off the most wonderful figure in superhero lore but the fight-stopping, car accident-preventing Ryan Gosling? Nobody. No offense, Henry Cavill.
[Photo Credit: Apega/WENN]
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Adams, a former president of the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures, died at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Newhall, California on 18 April (10).
He served as a stuntman or stunt co-ordinator on more than 80 films, including City Slickers, Thunderheart, Wild Bill and Shaughnessy. He was also stuntman for several U.S. TV shows, including soap opera Days of Our Lives, and acted in films including The Legend of the Lone Ranger and Pale Rider
He is survived by his sister, Kris Stevens.
The Two Towers saw fellowship mates--brave man Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) archer-elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom) grand wizard Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) comical dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies)--win a major battle against Dark Lord Sauron's orcs at Helm's Deep alongside noble King Theoden (Bernard Hill) of Rohan. But as we soon find out in The Return of the King that battle was nuthin' compared to what the good folks of Middle-earth are about to face. Sauron's force is growing more powerful and malevolent by the minute and the men joined by feisty Hobbits Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan) are on the move to what they anticipate being their last stand at the Gondor city of Minas Tirith. Desperation fear and hope play out on the faces of the warriors who face impossible odds as they battle an endless sea of orcs flying dragons gargantuan many-horned elephants and catapult-heaving behemoths waging a merciless attack on the walled fortress. Meanwhile hapless Hobbits Sam (Sean Astin) and Ring-bearer Frodo (Elijah Wood) with the help/hindrance of conniving Gollum (voiced by Andy Serkis) continue their arduous quest to Mordor. Sam grows ever more distrustful of the underhanded creature (with just cause) but the awful and all-powerful Ring is clouding Frodo's judgment causing him to heed Gollum and doubt his stalwart Hobbit friend. Sam knows Frodo isn't himself carrying such a heavy burden so he refuses to waver in his sole duty to get Frodo to Mount Doom where he can cast the Ring into the lava rivers from whence it came and rid Middle-earth of Sauron's dark forces forever. Then and only then can Aragorn take his rightful place as heir to the ancient kings and rule the land in peace.
The trilogy's familiar characters have grown subtly deeper in The Return of the King. We've gotten to know these characters so well in their journeys of the previous two films that they've come to life in flesh bone and a computer-generated part or two far more even than in the fantastical novels. Strapping Mortensen turns Aragorn into a worthy king not just with heroic words (although he does give one heck of a Henry V speech to rally the troops) but also with immense courage in his convictions. Bloom's Legolas still the coolest elf ever (sorry Will Ferrell) and Rhys-Davies' Gimli finally put away their cultural differences and become true friends while the wise McKellen and perky Boyd have some poignant moments together preparing Minas Tirith for the great battle and saving Gondor ranger Faramir (David Wenham) from his insane father Denethor (John Noble). Miranda Otto as Rohan princess Eowyn shows some serious mettle on the battlefield kicking the bejeezus outta some nasty baddies. Frodo on the other hand is so tormented and feeble it's hard to watch at times but the soulful Wood plays it beautifully. Serkis' computer-generated Gollum remains as creepy and sad as ever but when he gets the Ring back for one brief shining moment the look of pure joy on that horribly distorted face is something to see. But there's no doubt about it; the true hero of this last installment is Astin's Sam. Turns out the trilogy is as much Sam's journey as Frodo's--if anything Sam is the one who changes most throughout the ordeal as his average Joe Hobbit becomes the story's heart and soul.
Just when you thought director Peter Jackson couldn't make his epic any bigger or better he completely outdoes himself with the spectacle that is The Return of the King. He is meticulous about this production's look and feel and he doesn't falter on a single detail. Witness the giant spider Shelob which Jackson says was inspired by his own arachnophobia--it shows. The battle scenes go far beyond anything ever seen on screen and take special effects wizardry to new heights with images of armies washing toward their opponents like waves. The monsters are even more terrifying: The piercing cries of the winged dragons deafen the men in agony and the elephantine creatures stomping the army of men and their horses like ants recall (and were obviously influenced by) George Lucas' plodding Imperial Walkers in The Empire Strikes Back. (Watch Legolas bring one of those puppies down!) As in the past films Jackson intersperses all this heart-stopping action with small intimate moments of quiet contemplation taking as Gandalf puts it a deep breath before the last stand. Along with his trusted director of photography Andrew Lesnie Jackson gorgeously captures the panoramic grandeur of the New Zealand landscape especially in a scene where beacons are lit from mountaintop to mountaintop to let the men of Middle-earth know the war's on. If any criticism can be made it's in the last 30 minutes when the film lingers too long tying things up (and this is a three-and-a-half hour opus folks; pack a picnic). While the closing scenes are important Jackson seems to have trouble selecting which ending to use (mind you there are like 20 endings in the book so with four or so Jackson's still coming out ahead). Without question the New Zealand director should win the Oscar for this astonishing accomplishment. Maybe he'll melt it down to make a giant golden Ring.