The CIA is a lot stingier than MI6 in the "sexy spy vehicles" department.


The CIA is a lot stingier than MI6 in the "sexy spy vehicles" department.

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. EAST GERMAN GARAGE, 1963

Swinging sixties super-spy HENRY CAVILL enters a CHOP SHOP to find ALICIA VIKANDER, an AUTO MECHANIC with the physique and hands of a FASHION MODEL.

HENRY CAVILL

Alicia, I need your help looking for - say, what did cold war spy thrillers use for MacGuffins anyway?

ALICIA VIKANDER

Oh, all sorts of things. Microfilms, dossiers, experimental weapons, nuclear devices, scientists, secret organizations, anything ex-Nazi.

HENRY CAVILL

Well microfilms and dossiers sound a little low-key for a Guy Ritchie movie, but

(deep breath)

Help me find your father who is an ex-Nazi scientist currently building an experimental nuclear weapon for a secret organization.

ALICIA VIKANDER

NICE. But I have secret reasons for wanting to stay in East Berlin, so no can do.

HENRY CAVILL

Yeah well, I only just now realized that apparently some Russians managed to tail me here without my noticing and now we have to run for it before they kill me and kidnap and torture you. My bad!

ALICIA VIKANDER

Well clearly I’m in good hands now aren’t I.

HENRY follows ALICIA to her car and they drive off. But they are being followed by KGB agent ARMIE HAMMER.

HENRY CAVILL

(slightly arched eyebrow)

My my, we’re being shot at by some kind of super assassin. And now he’s maintaining pursuit in a high-speed car chase, that’s a mite problematic.

ARMIE HAMMER

(mildly furrowed brow)

Hmm, lady driver is running me off road with ridiculous spinny car ballet maneuver, is perilous.

HENRY CAVILL

(straightens tie)

Well now it would appear I’ve contrived an opportunity to shoot this gentleman’s tires out.

ARMIE HAMMER

(crashes into wall)

Ah nyet, have totalled car, must adjust plan.

ALICIA VIKANDER

All right, we get it, you’re both so super-cool and unflappable and whatnot. You do realize there’s a line where grace under pressure slips into sociopathic detachment, right?

(pause)

But hey, did you notice my badass driving skills? Good to see they’re letting me bring something to the table rather than just be a third wheel, huh? I can’t wait to see what kind of high-speed stunt driving sequence they’ve got lined up for me!

HENRY CAVILL

(awkward pause)

...Uh huh.

ARMIE gets out of the wreckage of his CAR and starts chasing down ALICIA’S CAR on FOOT.

HENRY CAVILL

Um, what? How is this possible.

ARMIE then GRABS THE CAR and tries to PHYSICALLY STOP IT and only fails when he winds up RIPPING THE BACK OF THE CAR OFF.

HENRY CAVILL

Seriously what the FUCK! Did this guy get a Soviet version of the Captain America serum or what? Are we ever going to explain any of this?

ARMIE HAMMER

Explanation unnecessary, am just implacable Russian strong man like Ivan Drago. Is dehumanizing cultural stereotype!

Despite ARMIE’S SUPERHUMAN POWERS, HENRY and ALICIA manage to ESCAPE across the WALL.

EXT. PARK

HENRY is meeting with his handler JARED HARRIS.

JARED HARRIS

Now that you and Armie have proven worthy adversaries for one another and the stage has been set for a deadly game of cat and mouse, we’ve decided to immediately shitcan the only interesting element of this entire movie and turn the two of you into a bickering old married couple for the remainder of the film.

HENRY CAVILL

We’re being partnered up for this nuclear bomb thing?

JARED HARRIS

Well I COULD tell you as much I suppose. But I thought it’d be funnier if before I actually explain any of this to you HERE’S ARMIE IN THE ROOM WITH NO WARNING SURPRIIISE!

HENRY and ARMIE immediately start trying to MURDER EACH OTHER, proving to be physically matched even though what we’ve seen of ARMIE so far suggests that HENRY’S HEAD ought to POP OFF LIKE A CHAMPAGNE CORK.

JARED HARRIS

(pulling them apart)

Cool your jets, we’ve simply decided that with the safety of the world at stake the two of you need to work together. Despite the childish rivalry between you, and the fact that you trust each other about as far as you could throw a train, and the sizeable risk that putting that much ridiculous chisel-jawed handsomeness in the same room as all this sixties kitsch might cause this movie to spontaneously turn into a Lichtenstein print.

HENRY CAVILL

But Jared, we have Alicia, and all the intel we could possibly need, so why collaborate with the Soviets if all they bring to the table is a single grumpy muscleman?

JARED HARRIS

Look, it’s a two-man job! What else can we do, put TWO of our own agents on the mission? We can’t spare a whole second CIA agent for this one globally important assignment, that’s crazy! Now let’s go, thirty other CIA agents who were here with me just to oversee this one meeting.

(leaves)

HENRY CAVILL

Fine then. Let the movie-length pissing contest begin!

ARMIE HAMMER

Very well. You suck, yankee pigdog.

HENRY CAVILL

No, YOU suck, you commie bastard!

ARMIE HAMMER

I’m not the one who kneecapped DC cinematic universe right out of gate with gloomy Zack Snyder snoozefest!

HENRY CAVILL

Rich talk coming from the guy whose own superhero flop saw him overshadowed by a sidekick with a dead bird on his head!

ARMIE HAMMER

This could take while. Let’s grab Alicia and continue petty squabbling when get to Italy.

EXT. ROME

HENRY, ARMIE and ALICIA arrive at their HOTEL.

HENRY CAVILL

So Alicia, your dad’s building the nuke for a bunch of leftover Nazis led by a rich married couple, Elizabeth Debicki and Luca Calvani. You’ll try and locate your dad through your uncle Sylvester Groth; tomorrow you’ll introduce him to your “fiancé”.

ALICIA VIKANDER

Ah, a fake relationship to further tease our acerbic romantic chemistry, I like it.

ARMIE HAMMER

Nyet. I am your pretend lover.

ALICIA VIKANDER

Fuck OFF. You? The monolithic sourpuss who tried to run me off the road and abduct me?

ARMIE HAMMER

Da, you are my fiancée and by extension vassal. I hereby order you to put on stupid-looking Austin Powers dress and big ugly obviously bugged engagement ring. Is important for cover you obey my commands, as real Russian would be able to control his woman.

ALICIA VIKANDER

Don’t you think it’s more important for me to act like myself in front of the man who’s known me since birth, than for you to play out some macho Russian stereotype?

ARMIE HAMMER

NYET. SUBMIT TO MY WILL.

ALICIA VIKANDER

Ugh. Why the hell aren’t we using my love interest for this bit, it would have been a much more effective ruse obviously.

ARMIE HAMMER

AM ALSO YOUR LOVE INTEREST IN THIS MOVIE.

ALICIA VIKANDER

...You...

(eye twitches)

Oh! Oh WELL then, why didn’t you TELL me my character’s behavior wasn’t supposed to make ANY DAMN SENSE WHATSOEVER, I’ve been playing it all wrong! Hang on, I’ll make up for it with an inexplicable scene of completely randomized antics!

(guzzles wine)

WOOO, I’m getting totally trashed, dunno why!

(dances comically)

Now I’m doing a wacky Risky Business dance! Why the fuck not! Now I’ll start coming on to you! And NOW I’ll, pfft, I dunno, beat the shit out of you!

ARMIE HAMMER

What? Don’t be stupid, am six-foot-five block of muscle with super-spy training, you are tiny unskilled-

(pummeled mercilessly)

ALICIA VIKANDER

Oh hey, apparently I’ve got unexplained combat skills in addition to my stunt driving powers. Man, I can’t wait to see what kind of action heroics they’ll let me get up to!

ARMIE HAMMER

(awkward pause)

...Uh huh.

EXT. SWANKY PARTY

HENRY enters a party which ELIZABETH DEBICKI is hosting.

HENRY CAVILL

All right, now as the CIA naturally arranged for my cover identity to be invited to this party

(they didn’t)

Of course they didn’t. No, that’d mean they’d have to have done more preparation for this assignment than just shoving two assholes on a plane and calling it a day. I mean it’s only nuclear devastation we’re talking about here, whatever.

(grumbles, sighs)

Fine, I’ll just steal an invitation from some random passing schmuck. And later if that schmuck actually turned out to be an important character, boy, won’t that be a clever surprise. The audience will have no way of seeing that one coming!

RANDOM PASSING SCHMUCK

(is Hugh Grant, far and away the most famous actor in the movie)

HENRY goes and PHYSICALLY ASSAULTS THE STAFF until ELIZABETH takes notice of him.

HENRY CAVILL

Hello there. May I present to you my cover identity, which is a renowned art expert. It’s apt since you’re a serious art collector and my backstory involves being a world-famous art thief turned superspy!

ELIZABETH DEBICKI

But if I’m both a serious art collector and a criminal, aren’t the chances of me being able to recognize a world-famous art thief turned superspy crazy high?

HENRY CAVILL

Well at least I didn’t make it a TOTAL giveaway by throwing my pre-arranged cover out the window for some reason and outright telling you I’m an art thief WAIT A MINUTE I JUST DID THAT, OH BALLS

Meanwhile ALICIA is introducing ARMIE to her uncle, SYLVESTER GROTH.

ARMIE HAMMER

Hello sir, I am architect who is in country to blah blah de blah standing around talking UUUUGH.

HENRY CAVILL

I take it you’re as bored as I am?

ARMIE HAMMER

DA. Start of movie was high-octane spy thriller, but ever since is nothing but chatting at cocktail parties and bickering in hotel rooms and bizarre romantic scenes with crazy drunk lady.

HENRY CAVILL

I vote we say nuts to this and cram in some random espionage scene which comes out of nowhere and has nothing to do with anything.

ARMIE HAMMER

Agreed. Let’s break into some factory Elizabeth and Luca own, in case they decided to put nuclear bomb lab inside!

HENRY CAVILL

Whatever, that’ll do!

EXT. SOME FACTORY OR WHATEVER

HENRY and ARMIE prepare to BREAK INTO THE FACTORY.

HENRY CAVILL

Now remember, to keep hammering home the idea of us being evenly matched we have to rigorously take turns being competent spies.

ARMIE HAMMER

Very well. See how my fancy-schmancy fence-cutting gadget cuts fence faster than your old-fashioned wire clippers! Take that, outdated caveman tech! Okay, your turn.

HENRY CAVILL

Now see how my old-fashioned lockpicking skills unlock this door faster than your fancy-schmancy anti-lock gadget! Take that, gimmicky space age tech! Now you go.

ARMIE HAMMER

Look, conveniently-timed guard is accessing secret area, I knock him out with comical Vulcan nerve pinch. You’re up.

HENRY CAVILL

Inside the secret area is... a giant safe that requires international art thief-type skills to break into? Come on, now this place is just pandering to us.

But there’s nothing inside the SAFE except for an EMPTY BOX.

HENRY CAVILL

Damn, they must have cleared out the uranium or whatever was supposed to be here! ...So I guess that guard was just coming down here to check up on the empty box?

Suddenly an ALARM goes off and they have to LEG IT.

ARMIE HAMMER

So what was point of all that? Did we accomplish anything at all?

HENRY CAVILL

Well when Elizabeth and Luca hear about this break-in they’re gonna be even more dubious of our flimsy-ass cover stories than before, so that’s like, negative progress. Really regretting mentioning all my break-in skills right about now.

ARMIE HAMMER

Whereas I regret showing off superspy combat skills at party by beating up bathroom full of guests.

HENRY CAVILL

Huh?

ARMIE HAMMER

Am prone to bouts of psychotic rage. Is character flaw!

HENRY CAVILL

Is psychological profile that should have kept you from ever qualifying as a special agent, is what it is.

ARMIE HAMMER

Also father was huge traitor sent to gulag. Not sure what KGB was thinking.

EXT. UNCLE SYLVESTER’S VILLA

ALICIA is sent to meet with SYLVESTER and LUCA by HERSELF for some reason.

ALICIA VIKANDER

So Sylvester, just thought you might want to know that Henry and Armie are totally spies and now I’m betraying them to you in an actual non-ruse fashion. I bet you anything Armie actually followed me here, so you could probably catch him UNLESS HE HAPPENED TO BE LISTENING IN THROUGH SOME KIND OF BUGGED ENGAGEMENT RING IN WHICH CASE HE WOULD JUST RUN AWAY, REPEAT, RUN AWAY.

ARMIE HAMMER

(running away)

Okay, so you demonstrate non-evilness by tipping me off so I can escape, but what about Henry?

ALICIA VIKANDER

Well I’m not trying to get into HIS pants so the hell with him.

Indeed, HENRY is captured and tied up by SYLVESTER in a TORTURE CHAMBER.

SYLVESTER GROTH

Let me tell you a bit about myself. I was the target of bullying as a child, but this only led me to have a fascination with pain and fear, which I-

HENRY CAVILL

What is this, backstory? Make it quick, pal, you’ve only had like three lines and literally nobody cares what your deal is.

SYLVESTER GROTH

(what feels like an hour later)

...to become Hitler’s most feared torturer, experimenting with a variety of cutting-edge techniques for bringing pain, in sessions that I documented for my own...

HENRY CAVILL

Oh GOD. “I’mma torture you now for fun”, that’s all you had to say. It’s too late for you to be a character anybody gives a crap about, STOP TALKING.

Finally ARMIE bursts in and INCAPACITATES SYLVESTER.

SYLVESTER GROTH

Ulp! I give up, I’ll tell you absolutely anything, the bomb’s on Elizabeth and Luca’s private island fortress, please don’t hurt me!

HENRY CAVILL

Oh. So if the CIA had just nabbed and interrogated you in the first place this whole assignment could have been wrapped up in five minutes. Ditto if they’d thought to send anybody in to poke around the island fortress, i.e. the most obvious location for the bomb to be. I feel pretty damn redundant right about now.

(pause)

Oh, and for making me sit through that pointless monologue, you’re on fire now.

(leaves)

Leaving the VILLA, HENRY and ARMIE are approached by HUGH GRANT.

HUGH GRANT

That’s right, it turns out I’m actually an important character what a surprise and all that. I’m British Intelligence, and I must say it’s a relief that I get to use my own accent. With a movie so full of Americans playing Russians and Brits playing Americans and Australians playing Brits and Swedes playing Germans and so forth, I was worried my character was going to turn out to be Portuguese or something.

(pause)

So now that we know the location of the bomb, we’re a go for Operation Seventies-Era Bond Climax, in which we send our mass of soldiers to fight their mass of soldiers but then the actual villain slips out the back with the MacGuffin so you have to personally go after them.

HENRY CAVILL

An entire army of backup, awright! After the kind of non-existent support the CIA and KGB have been giving us all mission, I was half expecting Armie and me to have to swim over to the island armed with sporks.

INT. ISLAND FORTRESS

ELIZABETH is threatening ALICIA'S LIFE, to push her NAZI SCIENTIST DAD to finish the NUCLEAR BOMB.

ELIZABETH DEBICKI

Do as I say or your daughter gets it! Go on, rig that nuclear warhead with that special lens that allows it and that other, non-nuclear warhead to hone in on each other’s location and blow up together!

ALICIA’S DAD

What? You want to make it so this nuke can go off at the same place as a regular old explosive that’s about big enough to take out a laundromat? What the hell is the point of that? You might as well ask me to stick a bayonet on it.

ELIZABETH DEBICKI

So I’m not very smooth at the art of slipping in a Chekov's gun, get off my case.

ALICIA’S DAD finishes the BOMB.

ELIZABETH DEBICKI

Excellent! And now, since I can’t imagine any reason our evil terrorist organization would ever want to build another nuclear device,

(kills Alicia’s dad)

and since the only reason I was keeping Alicia alive was to make her dad work harder,

(does not kill Alicia)

I’m pretty sure I got that the right way around.

LUCA shoves ALICIA and the WARHEAD into a JEEP and they SPEED OFF. Then HENRY chases after them in a MONSTER TRUCK and ARMIE brings up the rear on a MOTORCYCLE.

LUCA CALVANI

Let the high-speed chase begin! Watch as I use my racecar driver skills to SLOWLY DRIVE THROUGH A MUDDY LAKE!

HENRY CAVILL

Nice try, but now the action music swells mantastically as I use my superspy skills to SLOWLY DRIVE THROUGH A DIFFERENT, SHALLOWER PART OF THE SAME LAKE!

ARMIE HAMMER

Am still behind you somewhere.

(putters clumsily up and down hills)

HENRY CAVILL

Dang, why did we have to pick the same year as Fury Road to embarrass ourselves with this utter non-event of a car chase?

ARMIE HAMMER

Eh, is nothing compared to terrible decision to be spy movie in year when what little enthusiasm audiences have for genre is either reserved for Bond, or already spent on Tom Cruise, Colin Firth or even Melissa McCarthy.

ALICIA VIKANDER

Um, guys? Of the three of us, why am I the one spending this car chase tied up in the back seat? My driving ability was the one thing they gave me, were we really going nowhere with that?

(Luca crashes)

Well, I suppose now I could at least bring back those unexplained fight skills to take Luca down-

ARMIE stabs LUCA to death.

ALICIA VIKANDER

Yeah, that figures.

HENRY CAVILL

But shit, the warhead in the jeep is that second, non-nuclear warhead. Elizabeth must have smuggled the nuclear one out on a boat!

ALICIA VIKANDER

Ooh, we can use that awkwardly-established thing about the bombs being able to hone in on one another. Send the ordinary explosive bomb to safely blow up both the nuclear bomb and Elizabeth!

HENRY CAVILL

That’s a nice simple solution that the entire audience can follow without a problem! But just in case there’s somebody in the back row who is currently having a stroke or has a severe case of that Memento brain disorder or something, let’s show flashbacks to literally every single piece of footage relevant to this plan, including stuff that happened LESS THAN THIRTY SECONDS AGO.

They blow up ELIZABETH and her BOMB and save the day!

HUGH GRANT

Nice work, everybody! They’ve decided you’re a good enough team to keep you going as a joint US/Soviet intelligence unit, which is totally a thing that could have plausibly happened at the height of the Cold War. We’re calling it “U.N.C.L.E.”.

HENRY CAVILL

...So which the hell one of us was “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”?

HUGH GRANT

Oh. I have no idea. Which one was it in the show?

ARMIE HAMMER

This was TV show?

HUGH GRANT

Well yes. There are still some fans out there, surely? We were kind of banking on nostalgia appeal for this movie to be a hit. As well as all the die-hard Henry Cavill fans and Armie Hammer fans of course AW FUCK ABSOLUTELY NOBODY’S GONNA SEE THIS THING ARE THEY.

Nobody does.

END.

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