Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming spy movie The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which is an adaptation of a popular television series from the 60s, has had some trouble finding a leading man. The movie will tell the tale of the teaming of two spies under the banner of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. If Soderbergh’s vision of the material stays true to the TV show’s, then those men will be American secret agent Napoleon Solo and his Russian counterpart Illya Kuryakin. Originally, like in most of Soderbergh’s movies, George Clooney was just going to play the lead role. He had to drop out of the production due to the always looming scheduling conflicts or whatever though, so Soderbergh has been on a mad rush to fill Clooney’s shoes. Since all of the man’s movies that don’t star George Clooney usually star Matt Damon instead, he was the next guy to get a look for the role, but he ended up passing. Then things got desperate, Soderbergh went way out of his wheelhouse and tried to get Johnny Depp to play the part, but he passed as well. That’s a lot of Hollywood’s biggest leading men telling you that they can’t be in your movie. What is a director to do?
What Soderbergh seems to be doing is moving on to the next big thing. According to Variety he is in intense negotiations with Bradley Cooper to step in and be his guy. Cooper has been in a good number of films over the past few years, but after The Hangover hit it big it seems like he’s been trying to transition himself from supporting roles over to being the lead. He’s already had a bit of success by opening Limitless to strong numbers, and it looks like his representation is trying to keep that momentum going, because they reportedly were campaigning pretty hard to get Cooper looked at for Napoleon Solo. Soderbergh must have liked what he’s seen, or at least is ready to settle, because an offer is now on the table, just waiting for Cooper to sign. And seeing as he and his people went after this project so fiercely, it’s probably only a small matter of time before the casting becomes official. Then we’ll all be wondering who they’re going to get to play the Russian Illya Kuryakin. Oh, I know! He should try to get George Clooney or Matt Damon!