Monday, August 10, 2015


Robet Vaughn (left) and David McCallum in the '60s.
 Had breakfast at Cora's Coffee Shop in Santa Monica the other morning with David McCallum , who amassed a huge fan following in the 1960s as the mysterious Russian Illya Kuryakin in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. TV series and now, aged 81, is co-starring in NCIS as Dr. "Ducky" Mallard.
 David is totally unperturbed that neither he nor his former co-star Robert Vaughn, who played Napoleon Solo, was asked to appear in the new Man From U.N.C.L.E movie.
  "It would have been more of a distraction than anything else," he told me. "I didn't know there was a movie coming out. Nobody said anything to me about it and I'd never heard of the two stars."
  Then he adds jokingly: "I think it's outrageous someone else should be playing Illya Kuryakin. When you do something for many years you have a soft spot in your soul and it can be very easily bruised."
David McCallum today
  He saw the new film, which stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as Solo and Kuryakin, at a private screening at Warner Bros and he was pleasantly surprised. "Guy Ritchie and his writers have done an excellent job and have produced an exciting, original action movie that pays great tribute to the work Robert Vaughn, Leo G. Carroll (head of U.N.C.L.E. Mr. Waverly) and myself did back in the '60s," he tells me.
 "And I've completely fallen in love with Alicia Vikander!"
  Unsurprisingly Guy Ritchie's film makes full use of all the technology available to today's filmmakers. But when the original series was made (it ran from 1964-68) 
none of those techniques had been invented. "It didn't have computer graphics because they didn't exist," says David. "I remember being out int he hills in an open-top Austin Healey with the sound equipment on my lap and a microphone in my hand. Robert drove and he had a switch for a camera that was strapped to the car's hood. We switched the camera on and off we went."


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...