From Superman to super spy at peak of Cold War
BEFORE he reprises his Superman role in the much-anticipated Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, scheduled for release in March next year, Henry Cavill will first tackle the role of Central Intelligence Agency super spy Napoleon Solo in Warner Bros' slick action-thriller The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Cavill and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) team up in the film as CIA operative Napoleon Solo and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin respectively in the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War.
The two characters are fierce rivals from opposing sides of the Iron Curtain who are ordered to put aside their differences and work together to prevent a global catastrophe.
In some respects, it's a buddy movie, apart from the fact that "they kick the living daylights out of each other as soon as they meet", says Cavill.
On the quintessentially smooth Solo, he adds: "He's not career CIA; in fact, he's kind of anti-establishment. He acquired his skill set dealing art and antiques on the black market after sneaking his way into post-war European high society, and was so good that no one could catch him for years. It's something he took a great deal of pride in.
"But eventually he was given up by a jealous girlfriend, and the CIA, seeing the value of a man like him, offered an ultimatum: Go to jail or work for us. So he ended up becoming an agent, very successfully, but somewhat reluctantly. It's better than being in jail and he can still wear natty suits."
Cavill himself calls the pairing of Solo and Kuryakin "a very odd and broken relationship".
"It's 'I hate you, but I have to work with you'. They really don't want to like each other, but ultimately each comes to kind of respect the other."
For his part, Solo finds the Russian unrefined and unpredictable, "but in some ways they're two sides of the same coin", Cavill observes. "The differences in their personalities and methods are vast, but they're on the same spectrum.
"And even though they're in this because Solo and Kuryakin have no choice, they are always mindful that they have a mission and there are lives at stake, not to mention the destruction of the world, so they have to try to make their skills work together."
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK