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Thrillers usually live or die by their sinister villains. We adore memorable antagonists like Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber, Gary Busey’s Mr. Joshua, and Anthony Hopkins’ charming Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Will Luca Calvani soon join their ranks?
I know what you’re thinking. Who? Well, Calvani – according to Deadline -- just landed the coveted villainous role in Guy Ritchie’s planned The Man from U.N.C.L.E. adaptation, and soon will be able to show us if he has the stuff to terrorize our off-screen dreams. The report says Calvani will play Alexander, a “wealthy Italian shipping heir who smuggled Nazi gold at end of WWII” and is “behind the sale of nuclear weapons.” The actor previously was best known for playing supporting roles in television soap operas like The Bold and the Beautiful, the Italian soap Tutti pazzi per amore and the Kristen Bell rom-com When In Rome.
At the moment, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander are set to star in Ritchie’s film, which Deadline says will begin shooting in Europe. But the film has gone through several shifts behind the scenes as it fights its way toward production. Tom Cruise was on the hook to lead the film for a while until he dropped it for a fifth Mission: Impossible movie. Once the main core started to settle in place, supporting players like Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant and Jared Harris (who worked with the director on his Sherlock Holmes sequel) started snatching up roles. There’s stability, suddenly, in a production that had very little.
The Man movie still has an uphill battle, as far as I’m concerned. Movies based on old television programs aren’t easy slam dunks. Anything but. Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy’s I Spy banked $33 million back in 2002. At the same time, Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and The Rock powered Get Smart to a healthy $130 million. So it’s a crapshoot. Can Ritchie power this new U.N.C.L.E. to worldwide grosses? We’ll find out when this action-comedy gets a release date, in time. Until then, enjoy this behind-the-scenes reel explaining why the original TV show was so popular back in the 1960s.