Actors Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer have both had their shots at playing iconic characters. Cavill won the roles of Clark Kent/Superman in “Man of Steel,” and Hammer was the Lone Ranger in, well you know the movie. Cavill will do it again in when he goes up against Ben Affleck in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in the spring. Sorry, there’s not going to be a “Lone Ranger” sequel. But both guys are again stepping into the shoes of famous characters in Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of the’60s TV show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” The film is an origin story of how CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and KGB operative Ilya Kuryakin (Hammer), who meet as bitter enemies in the midst of the Cold War, come to work together in the secret organization United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. The two actors shared an extremely relaxed, sometimes goofy interview at Claridge’s in London.

Q: What brought you to this movie?

Hammer: Money. That’s all. Small, unmarked, non-sequential bills. Truth be told, I went through an extensive audition process, which included screen tests, and the whole thing. But the main attraction for me was to work with Guy Ritchie.

Cavill: Very much the same for me. Guy was what attracted me to the job in the first place. Actually, I was auditioning for the Ilya part, while Tom Cruise was set to play Napoleon Solo. But Armie got the Ilya role. Then Tom Cruise left, and they thought, “Hold on, these two guys worked quite well together. I did one other audition for Napoleon, with Guy, at his house. And then I got the role.

Q: When you finally got to work with Guy Ritchie, were there any surprises?

Hammer: There was a new surprise every day.

Cavill: He’s naked a lot.

Hammer: That’s true. When they say he’s laid back, I mean he is really laid back.

Cavill: No, we’re joking. But the surprise really is how laid back he is. He’s very relaxed. He treats you like a human being and an equal. I could be myself around him, and not worry about offending him.

Q: How much freedom did you have with the script?

Hammer: Quite a bit. I’d dare say that Guy probably thought that the script wouldn’t be all the way prepared until he rehearsed with all the actors. And then through the rehearsal process, things change, things evolve. Sometimes the actors will change things and sometimes he’ll go, “You know, on paper that looks really good, but it doesn’t sound good when you say it. So say this instead.” It was a shape-shifting script, from the beginning.

Cavill: Even on the day of shooting, Guy would see us do the scene and say, “This isn’t working. How can we fix this?” And we would throw our ideas in, for everyone else’s character as well as our own, and Guy would either like it or not like it.

Q: Did you do any special action training for the film?

Cavill: We did some fight choreography stuff. But there was nothing in particular. It’s not like we went to spy training school, or anything.

Hammer: We went to 1960s spy school, so nothing that we learned was useful.

Q: You make the film in small pieces, then when you’re through, those pieces are put together. Were you surprised at the result?

Cavill: We had a good idea of the tone of the movie as well as what it was going to look like. What’s surprising is how, in the post-process, Guy can just enhance everything. So it’s like a “what-we-felt-but-on-steroids” version.

Q: Was there any talk about the possibility of a franchise even before you started this one?

Cavill: You make a movie to be its own thing, and there’s the idea of setting up for future stuff. But we won’t know about any real rumblings of it until the world’s seen the movie, and we get numbers back. But I think every movie sets itself for another one, don’t they? Just in case? It’s very rare to see a movie where you go, “Oh! Everyone’s dead!”

“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” opens on Aug. 14.

Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.