Guy Ritchie

Man from UNCLE

Guy Ritchie’s take on NBC’s espionage series is arriving early next year, with a theatrical debut January 16, 2015, over Martin Luther King weekend. Starring Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill, this will be the first return of the property to mainstream audiences in over thirty years. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ran from 1964 to 1968, and starred secret agents Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) and, no joke, a guy named Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), as a two-man team defending the free world from the nefarious organization, THRUSH. One of the unique aspects of the show was creator Sam Rolfe and producer Norman Felton’s narrative of international cooperation, with the two main agents hailing from North America and Russia, working for an international organization united under one cause.

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King Arthur

Long ago, in a time called 2011, development began at Warner Bros. on a film called Arthur & Lancelot. Set to star Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harrington and Robocop‘s Joel Kinnaman in the leads alongside Colin Farrell and directed by David Dobkin, it was to be a retelling of the King Arthur tale, but the project ultimately fell through due to budgetary problems; $130m was a bit much for the sword in the stone. Even prior to that, Warner Bros. gave the go ahead on a 2010 remake of the 1981 film Excalibur, with Bryan Singer at the helm — which also failed to get off the ground. Now Guy Ritchie, who had once attempted to make his own film with a script by Trainspotting writer John Hodge (it fell through when Dobkin’s movie looked like it was going to get made), is teaming with the studio to get back in the sword business with a King Arthur story on a much more massive scale. Massive, as in a six film franchise which will apparently spare no detail in the legendary tale of the war king, the wizard Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table.

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IntroGenre

By no means are directors expected to make the same movie over and over again – but they also don’t tend to fly genre to genre like some kind of bipolar carnival game either. Here are a few directors who – if they were to put on an autograph signing – would find themselves in the midst of a very polarized crowd of fans.

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Jared Harris

Guy Ritchie‘s adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. begins shooting in less than a week – specifically, on September 9 – so this latest casting announcement comes just in the nick of time. Jared Harris, best known for his roles in Mad Men and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, has been cast in the upcoming spy-thriller-action-comedy-TV adaptation. What we don’t know, however, is what role Harris will be playing. The film doesn’t have its villain yet, and Harris has a certain high-class charm that would lend itself perfectly to a sneering spy villain role. Plus, Harris was the villain in Ritchie’s last directorial outing (the aforementioned Sherlock Holmes sequel) and the rest of the cast has already been filled in. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer will be playing lead spies Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, with Alicia Vikander as a fellow agent, Elizabeth Debicki as some kind of femme fatale, and Hugh Grant as the head of British Naval Intelligence. I can only assume we’ll see them all on some world-saving spy mission at the behest of U.N.C.L.E., the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

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empire

Even though director Guy Ritchie is still currently hard at work prepping The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to get ready to go in front of cameras, we might already know what he’s going to be working on after that project wraps. THR is reporting that Warner Bros. has just picked up the rights to a novel from author Thomas Kelly called “Empire Rising,” and they’re looking to develop it as a possible directing vehicle for Ritchie. The studio must still really like what Ritchie did with their Sherlock Holmes property, because Empire Rising is another period production that would this time see Ritchie giving us his version of 1930 New York, as Kelly’s story is one that uses the construction of the Empire State Building as a backdrop. This isn’t a simple tale of lunch pales and hard hats though. Despite the fact that the construction of one of Manhattan’s most iconic buildings is central to the story this film will tell, it turns out it also contains a tangled web of human drama that’s probably going to be even more interesting than any onscreen recreations of old-timey New York.

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The Investigation Into The News Of The World Phone Hacking Allegations Continues

Though the big screen adaptation of A Man From U.N.C.L.E spent quite a bit of time being one of those doomed projects that kept cycling through directors and stars without ever actually getting made, lately it’s solidified itself as a spy movie that’s not only looking like it’s really going to happen, but is actually looking like it’s going to happen pretty darn soon. Director Guy Ritchie has stuck with the film and overseen its development, even through some ups and downs, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer have been attached as agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin long enough now that it doesn’t seem likely they’re going to drop out at this point, and the film has even begun to fill out the rest of its cast by recruiting Swedish beauty Alicia Vikander as the female lead and Australian vision Elizabeth Debicki as a femme fatale. Things are looking good. Need even more proof that U.N.C.L.E. is no longer in trouble, and is actually now gearing up to go into production? Well, another big name has just been enticed into joining the film in a supporting role, and he’s one who lends the espionage pic some additional international flavor.

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elizabeth_debicki_in_the_great_gatsby-wide

The potential reimagining of the classic TV spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for the big screen is a project that we’ve been hearing about for so long that it’s begun to feel like one of those doomed productions that’s never going to happen. Or maybe it even feels like it came out a year or so ago, and nobody we know saw it, so we’ve already forgotten about it completely. Neither is the case though. U.N.C.L.E. has not yet come out, and it does indeed seem to still be happening. It’s just had something of a troubled history. The whole thing started out as a Steven Soderbergh film that was going to star George Clooney, then it became a Steven Soderbergh film that seemingly nobody wanted to star in, then that incarnation of the film came apart completely, then it became a Guy Ritchie film that was going to star Tom Cruise, and then Cruise dropped out as well. That’s about the time everybody kind of gave up on it. But Ritchie has kept working, quietly assembled the core of his cast, and now that he’s hired a promising up-and-comer to fill a supporting position, it’s looking like this is a project that’s actually got its ducks in a row and is getting ready to shoot.

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tom-cruise

Want to drop a major piece of casting news? Let it loose on the Friday before the season’s first holiday weekend. Deadline Hollywood reports the genuinely surprising news that Tom Cruise has quit the already-beleaguered The Man from U.N.C.L.E. feature he has been attached to since March. The film has already been through a few incarnations, most notably when it was set to be directed by Steven Soderbergh with George Clooney starring, but it looked to finally be on track with Guy Ritchie directing and Armie Hammer co-starring as one half of an agent duo from the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. Cruise has reportedly stepped aside because of good old-fashioned scheduling conflicts, as he is now turning his attention to producing and starring in that upcoming Mission: Impossible sequel (the fifth film in the franchise). With U.N.C.L.E. still set to film this fall, Cruise seemingly had way too much on his plate to do both.

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Drinking Games

Two and a half years ago, Guy Ritchie revived the classic Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, starring Iron Man himself as the eccentric detective. This past Christmas, he also directed the sequel of the film, in the wake of the BBC’s brilliant Sherlock series. Now that sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is available on Blu-ray and DVD. Whether you like these new films or you prefer the BBC show, you can enjoy the new movie with this drinking game of shadows. Of course, if you want to start things off right, you can also enjoy Guy Ritchie’s original Sherlock Holmes with a few drinks here. Though we don’t recommend using formaldehyde as your spirit of choice, as Holmes does in the movie. That would kill you dead faster than Lucy Liu’s upcoming Elementary television series.

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While we all wait with baited pipe smoke-tinged breath for another highly stylized Sherlock Holmes adventure from Guy Ritchie, Deadline Trenton reports that Warner Bros. has attached the director to helm a new take on Robert Louis Stevenson‘s classic novel “Treasure Island.” And, as if there was any question about whether or not Ritchie would be straying from the high-action, whiz-bang stuff that’s made his Robert Downey Jr.-starring Holmes such a smash, the film has been set up by producer Lionel Wigram (Ritchie’s producing partner and the one responsible for ushering in the new Holmes tales). Wigram reportedly set up the project before he and Ritchie even became producing partners, and the buzz is that it will be a “stylized version of the classic novel.” So, yeah, pretty much just like Holmes. Expect the doubloons to roll in.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr goes rogue and infiltrates his local IMAX theater. First, he scales the wall of the plus-sized building and slides in undetected through the air vents. He slowly lowers himself into a theater seat to enjoy an early screening of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Unfortunately, he finds himself in the middle of a wild crowd of six-year-old kids for the early screening of the latest Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. To deal with the psychological damage, Kevin then stumbles into the Sherlock Holmes sequel and later finds an extra seat in Young Adult, where he can imagine that his chubby caboose could land a hottie like Charlize Theron.

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Guy Ritchie was far from the most obvious choice to direct a big budget, period action comedy that hoped to turn the Sherlock Holmes name into a 21st century franchise. But half a billion dollars (worldwide) later he found himself the man behind a monster hit… and its inevitable sequel. Two years later, that sequel is now a reality, and the question becomes can Ritchie strike gold twice in a row with another entertaining blockbuster? Or has he delivered the Victorian equivalent of Speed 2: Cruise Control… Depending on how you look at it the answer sits somewhere in between. A Game of Shadows brings back the two major players in Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law), but instead of a generic villain with mysterious motivations we get Arthur Conan Doyle’s most notorious and evil mastermind pulling the strings and doling out the pain. Ritchie’s sequel tries to stick with the first film’s mix of stylish camera work, exciting set pieces, and witty banter between its leads, but unfortunately it falters almost as often as it succeeds.

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The Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows junket included a massive press conference that featured so much talent from the sequel to Guy Ritchie‘s 2009 film that they needed to be arranged in stadium seating, including stars Robert Downey Jr., Noomi Rapace, and Jared Harris, director Ritchie, producers Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, and Susan Downey, screenwriters Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney, and composer Hans Zimmer. Jude Law couldn’t make it because, as RDJ put it, “his son had a soccer game.” For forty-five minutes, the group fielded questions from the Los Angeles press (let’s be honest, Downey fielded questions from the press, frequently begging for someone to toss a query at one of the nine other people sitting around and behind him), and all the microphone-grabbing and cracks at banter did yield some interesting tidbits. Mainly, a story about Hans Zimmer essentially kidnapping thirteen gypsies, but that’s for later. After the break, break out your steampunk-inspired magnifying glasses and try to follow along, Watson, as we investigate the case of the eleven things we learned at the Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows press conference.

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Well, this is certainly going to make my piece about the Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows (coming next week! only here at Film School Rejects!) press conference a touch more interesting. Deadline Ratcliff reports that Warner Bros. is currently “making a deal” with director Guy Ritchie and his new partner Lionel Wigram to “come aboard” their The Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature that was recently vacated by director Steven Soderbergh. That’s really just sort of vague – Deadline has really buried the lede on this one, finally getting to it – “the intention is for Ritchie to direct the film.” A ha! Elementary! Ritchie and Wigram recently formed their own production company after making two Sherlock Holmes films together. Wigram wrote and produced the first Sherlock Holmes film, and serves as executive producer on the next installment, opening next week. Wigram has a bevy of other titles under his producer belt, including four Harry Potter films, August Rush, and the upcoming films The Seventh Son and Arthur & Lancelot. Also – the dude was the second unit director on Cool as Ice, so you know what that makes him? Cool as ice. The film still comes complete with a script by Scott Z. Burns, but Soderbergh’s reasons for leaving – including budget struggles and trouble casting the lead – don’t just disappear with Ritchie and Wigram getting on board. Wait, what am I saying? We might as well cast Robert Downey, Jr. in this right now.

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Enjoy playing Count The Explosions in the next trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. While there’s still a subdued kind of excitement to the proceedings, it’s not short on very quick chemical reactions. Hopefully the film will be an improvement on the first. At any rate, Guy Ritchie is raising the stakes by including Moriarty, Holmes’s greatest foe, played by Jared Harris. Of course Robert Downey, Jr. is back alongside Jude Law, and while they’ll be joined by Noomi Rapace, we’ll also apparently see the return of Rachel McAdams to the series. Check it out for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? The more appropriate question would be: what isn’t Movie News After Dark? We open tonight with a look at The Avengers, or at least the version that will appear in the comic book prequel Marvel will release leading up to the release of the film. It’s a bit of art that we missed last week, so what better way to begin this week than with some good old hero money shots. In other Avengers news, production in Cleveland is done. Sadly, this means that my lovely home town will no longer be interesting, even to the people that live there. Hi mom!

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Sherlock Holmes has always been a character steeped in a rich tradition of intellectual wit and gamesmanship. He’s a thinker, a strategist and an insane tactician fit to do battle with all the world’s most devious antagonists. But to hell with that, as Guy Ritchie is giving us the more explosive, action hero Sherlock Holmes. And while its not a thinking man’s game, it sure looks like a hell of a lot of fun. With the first trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the sequel to the fun, stylish, slow-motiony 2009 Robert Downey Jr. led film, Ritchie and crew lay it all on the line: in this round, Sherlock will be dashing and daring in equal measure, while Watson will continue to be frustrated. The boys are back and I’m betting on fun, so lets take a look at the tape. Also, Robert Downey Jr. in drag…

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It was a big day on the Internet for Guy Ritchie. Vulture reports that the sequel to the hugely successful sword and sandals film 300 has been taken out of its original director Zack Snyder’s hands and placed into Ritchie’s. The film is called Xerxes and is another adaptation of a Frank Miller graphic novel. Snyder was developing the sequel already, but now Ritchie will have the opportunity to put his own stamp on the project. I guess that means all of the fight scenes are going to go from being slowed down to sped up? Regardless, if they are able to cut a trailer with enough macho posturing to lure all of the fans of 300 back into the theater, then this could be a real coup for the director. But that’s not all. Ritchie also has a sequel to his successful 2009 film Sherlock Holmes coming out in December. E Online reports that this film has gone from being known as Untitled Sherlock Holmes Sequel to the slightly more fetching Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Eh, I don’t know; it kind of sounds like a role-playing game. Untitled Sherlock Holmes Sequel might have been the thing to go with after all. It lets the people know what they’re getting. All of my snickering and sniping aside, this is pretty big news for a filmmaker I went about nine years without thinking about. It was like, he made Lock, Stock and Snatch and then he totally disappeared until […]

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Zack Snyder has been a busy beaver ever since he made 300. That film, an adaptation of a graphic novel by Frank Miller, was able to cross over and hit both the comic book nerd and the frat boy demographics in a way that nothing else ever has, thus creating a perfect storm of young male disposable income going into studio pockets. Execs were so pleased with what Snyder did on the project that his follow up film Watchmen was heavily billed in its advertisements as coming “from visionary director Zack Snyder”. That’s right, three films in and the man had not only hit director’s name in the voice over status, he also got a really cool adjective attached to his name. But today it seems like the upward trajectory of Snyder’s career might have hit a momentary snag. Vulture claims to have inside knowledge that the upcoming sequel to 300, Xerxes has been taken out of Snyder’s hands. This is largely because they need him to focus on his upcoming Superman film. You see, due to a historically long lawsuit between the people currently schlepping Superman product and the estates of Superman’s creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Warner Bros. only has until 2013 to get a Superman movie out before they lose the rights to key elements of the franchise. Rumors abound that Snyder’s upcoming film is suffering from some serious script problems; more specifically that it doesn’t have much of a third act. Speculation is that the […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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