Warner Bros. hopes to spawn a new franchise from the film, starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as U.N.C.L.E. agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, respectively. Tom Cruise had been slotted for the lead role, but when he fell out in late May, the studio insisted its production budget be pared down to about $75 million before moving forward with the picture, targeted to be released next year. The movie, which one of the filmmakers describes as a fairly serious action pic set in the ’60s, will begin production Sept. 7, and film in London and Italy.
With a script by Ritchie and his “Sherlock Holmes” writer and producer Lionel Wigram, the film is an origin story that tells of the first pairing of the two spies — one American, one Russian. Unlike the friendly banter of the original series, the pair are initially hostile to each other, said someone familiar with the script. Ritchie declined multiple interview request
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