Guy Ritchie's new film, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, is releasing in US cinemas this week, and it is partly based on the true story of a covert British spy organisation during the Second World War, called the Special Operations Executive.


Alongside actors such as Henry Cavill and Alan Ritchson, the film also stars Freddie Fox as Ian Fleming, the iconic author behind James Bond - and Cavill has revealed that any similarities between his character, real-life figure Gus March-Phillipps, and Bond himself are not unintentional.

Speaking on The Rich Eisen Show, Cavill said: "I'm sure Ian Fleming wrote James Bond with a lot of stories, a lot of different characters in mind, but as I understand it, Gus March-Phillipps was one of the stronger influences.

"And, in fact, they all had code numbers, and Gus was W01, which is what eventually became 007 over time. They all had these little code numbers, just so they could reference each other and be deniable in their operations."

Alex Pettyfer, Alan Ritchson, Henry Cavill, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Henry Golding in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, stood and sat around on a ship
Alex Pettyfer, Alan Ritchson, Henry Cavill, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Henry Golding in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare Dan Smith for Lionsgate

Cavill continued: "Also, Gus March-Phillipps, I have recently learned, and I may be wrong in this too, but I'm fairly sure I'm not, was also an amateur author and poet, and he had written a book about a spy, based on his adventures as well.

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"And, had he not died during World War Two, he may have beaten Ian Fleming to the punch."

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Eisen also pointed out that the character played by Cary Elwes, Brigadier Colin Gubbins, was a real-life version of M, before asking Cavill whether there is still a chance he could put on the tux and play Bond himself in a future film.

Cavill responded: "I have no idea. All I've got to go off is the rumours, the same information you have. Maybe I'm too old now, maybe I'm not, we'll see. It's up to Barbara Broccoli and Mike Wilson, and we'll see what their plans are."

Earlier this year, it was reported that Aaron Taylor-Johnson has been offered the role of Bond, but sources close to the actor swiftly downplayed this report, before adding that "anything is possible in the future".

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is scheduled to be released on Friday 19th April 2024 in the US.


Looking for something to watch in the meantime? Check out more of our Film coverage, or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.