Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki on Strong Women in 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki on Strong Women in 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'

Article excerpt

Alicia Vikander on 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.'

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TORONTO - It's called "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," but the slick, 1960s-set spy thriller from writers Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram is just as much about the women.

The female leads played by rising stars Alicia Vikander and Elizabeth Debicki -- alongside Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as the aforementioned spies -- are like Bond girls in that they're both strong and enigmatic.

But unlike Bond girls, their sexiness isn't their main quality. And they're not just the sidekicks.

As Debicki put it: "There were no bikinis. Thank God."

"They're very intelligent, they're quite manipulative but they don't use their beauty to push them forward in the world," added the Australian-raised former dancer.

"They use their brains, and that's a really appealing thing to watch."

Said Vikander: "It was very much a female revolution that happened during the '60s and I'm so happy that Guy and Lionel decided to write in those very strong female characters."

"The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," which opens Friday, is inspired by the hit 1960s TV series.

Cavill stars as suave CIA agent Napoleon Solo opposite Hammer as uptight KGB agent Illya Kuryakin. Former foes, they must now team up to stop a criminal organization from developing nuclear weapons.

Their key contact is Vikander's Gaby Teller, a sharp, feisty and tomboy-ish East German auto mechanic whose father and uncle have ties to that organization.

Debicki plays Victoria, the wealthy and glamorous head of a shipping empire that the spies are trying to infiltrate.

"Credit to Guy and Lionel for writing these two women in a genre where they don't often exist in that form," said Debicki, noting they didn't realize their characters had such an impact until they started doing press for the film in London and journalists commended them. …

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