By Clark Collis
Updated February 10, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST
Daniel Smith

Director Guy Ritchie proved he can make an old story new (without forcing it into a modern-day setting) with his action-packed Robert Downey Jr.-starring Sherlock Holmes movies. Now he’s repeating the deft trick with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (out Aug. 14), a big-screen adaptation of the ’60s spy show that maintains the original’s Cold War-era setting. Man of Steel star Henry Cavill plays CIA spook Napoleon Solo, while Armie Hammer (The Social Network) is KGB agent Illya Kuryakin. The unlikely duo become partners in the course of a tale that reveals the origin of the baddie-fighting United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. “The series hadn’t really done the origin story—U.N.C.L.E. already existed,” says producer Lionel Wigram, who also co-wrote the screenplay. “At the height of the Cold War you’ve got a Russian and an American working together. How did that come about?” The film’s other cast members include Jared Harris (Mad Men), Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), and Hugh Grant, whose character, Waverly, was the U.N.C.L.E. pair’s boss on the original show. But it’s Hammer who seems to have done the most prep work for the movie. “I moved to the Soviet Union for six years,” he deadpans. “It was time travel as well as location. The jet lag is a killer.”

You can see exclusive first look image of Cavill in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. above and two more, featuring Cavill, Debicki, and Hammer, below. (And check back later today, to see the film’s first trailer.)