Hollywood turns once again to a popular TV show as source material for
a new movie; this time it's an espionage comedy from 40 years ago,
updated for the big screen. Alan Silverman has this look at the new
feature film version of Get Smart.
As secret agents go, Maxwell
Smart is a little bit James Bond and a lot of Three Stooges. Designated
"Agent 86," Smart is ...would you believe? ...the top operative for
Washington's ultra-secret "CONTROL," trying to thwart the nefarious
plots of "KAOS" (that's K-A-O-S), the secret agent service of the other
Using his uncanny powers of deduction and the latest in high-tech gadgetry, Agent 86 never seems to get it quite right.
TV situation comedy Get Smart, created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry,
was on the air in the 1960's: a comic antidote to the Cold War that
gave us catch-phrases like "sorry about that, chief" and "...would you
"There are a lot of elements of the original show,"
says actor Steve Carell. "There's the 'shoe phone' and the 'cone of
silence' and many elements of the original that they were able to bring
into this story line, I think, kind of seamlessly."
stars in the film as Maxwell Smart, the character created on TV by the
late comic actor Don Adams. Though there are obvious similarities,
Carell says he tried n-o-t to copy the antics of the show.
steered away from it because I didn't want to do an impression of Don
Adams," he says. "I figured there was no way to improve upon what he
had done and I thought the more I watched of him, the more I would be
inclined to do an impersonation because he was so good and so
definitive in the role.
"The creators - the originators - are
excited about the fact that there will be a new generation of people
that discover this as an idea," adds Carell. " It's funny, but I think
what's going to surprise people is how exciting it is. When we first
started talking about it and what tone we thought the movie should be,
I said I thought it should be more of a comedic "Bourne Identity."
Max is paired with a skilled and sexy partner, Agent 99, played by
Barbara Feldon on TV and Anne Hathaway in the new movie.
we took from the original series was that Agent 99 was a fully
actualized woman of her time," explains Hathaway. "So we thought 'okay,
what would a fully actualized woman of 2008 be like?' That was the
jumping off point and that's where we got 99 from in our version."
in the mix, Dwayne Johnson (formerly pro wrestling's "The Rock") as
CONTROL Agent 23, a muscular character very much at home in the action
"The thought of Steve Carell and myself side-by-side is
just funny and made me laugh from the get-go," Johnson says. "Then it
was funny on the page and I thought we had a good shot at making a
pretty good movie."
Get Smart features Oscar-winner Alan Arkin
as the CONTROL Chief and British screen veteran Terence Stamp is
Siegfried, the dreaded mastermind of KAOS.