The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Man from UNCLE

Guy Ritchie’s take on NBC’s espionage series is arriving early next year, with a theatrical debut January 16, 2015, over Martin Luther King weekend. Starring Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill, this will be the first return of the property to mainstream audiences in over thirty years. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ran from 1964 to 1968, and starred secret agents Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) and, no joke, a guy named Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), as a two-man team defending the free world from the nefarious organization, THRUSH. One of the unique aspects of the show was creator Sam Rolfe and producer Norman Felton’s narrative of international cooperation, with the two main agents hailing from North America and Russia, working for an international organization united under one cause.

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Jared Harris

Guy Ritchie‘s adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. begins shooting in less than a week – specifically, on September 9 – so this latest casting announcement comes just in the nick of time. Jared Harris, best known for his roles in Mad Men and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, has been cast in the upcoming spy-thriller-action-comedy-TV adaptation. What we don’t know, however, is what role Harris will be playing. The film doesn’t have its villain yet, and Harris has a certain high-class charm that would lend itself perfectly to a sneering spy villain role. Plus, Harris was the villain in Ritchie’s last directorial outing (the aforementioned Sherlock Holmes sequel) and the rest of the cast has already been filled in. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer will be playing lead spies Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, with Alicia Vikander as a fellow agent, Elizabeth Debicki as some kind of femme fatale, and Hugh Grant as the head of British Naval Intelligence. I can only assume we’ll see them all on some world-saving spy mission at the behest of U.N.C.L.E., the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

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The Investigation Into The News Of The World Phone Hacking Allegations Continues

Though the big screen adaptation of A Man From U.N.C.L.E spent quite a bit of time being one of those doomed projects that kept cycling through directors and stars without ever actually getting made, lately it’s solidified itself as a spy movie that’s not only looking like it’s really going to happen, but is actually looking like it’s going to happen pretty darn soon. Director Guy Ritchie has stuck with the film and overseen its development, even through some ups and downs, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer have been attached as agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin long enough now that it doesn’t seem likely they’re going to drop out at this point, and the film has even begun to fill out the rest of its cast by recruiting Swedish beauty Alicia Vikander as the female lead and Australian vision Elizabeth Debicki as a femme fatale. Things are looking good. Need even more proof that U.N.C.L.E. is no longer in trouble, and is actually now gearing up to go into production? Well, another big name has just been enticed into joining the film in a supporting role, and he’s one who lends the espionage pic some additional international flavor.

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elizabeth_debicki_in_the_great_gatsby-wide

The potential reimagining of the classic TV spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for the big screen is a project that we’ve been hearing about for so long that it’s begun to feel like one of those doomed productions that’s never going to happen. Or maybe it even feels like it came out a year or so ago, and nobody we know saw it, so we’ve already forgotten about it completely. Neither is the case though. U.N.C.L.E. has not yet come out, and it does indeed seem to still be happening. It’s just had something of a troubled history. The whole thing started out as a Steven Soderbergh film that was going to star George Clooney, then it became a Steven Soderbergh film that seemingly nobody wanted to star in, then that incarnation of the film came apart completely, then it became a Guy Ritchie film that was going to star Tom Cruise, and then Cruise dropped out as well. That’s about the time everybody kind of gave up on it. But Ritchie has kept working, quietly assembled the core of his cast, and now that he’s hired a promising up-and-comer to fill a supporting position, it’s looking like this is a project that’s actually got its ducks in a row and is getting ready to shoot.

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brolinworkout

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily casting column that’s currently shocked and appalled that a mainstream actor has signed on to help legitimize Tom Six’s miserable Human Centipede series of body horror films. Read on to find out who has lowered themselves to delivering poop jokes. Paul Thomas Anderson’s next project, Inherent Vice, is an ensemble crime piece that’s going to see him working with a huge cast of talented actors. Already the film is looking to feature names like Joaquin Phoenix, Sean Penn, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, and the list goes on. The latest news is that he’s looking to add Josh Brolin to the list, who, due to his recent acting comeback that got kickstarted by his starring in the Coen brothers’ No Country For Old Men, is no stranger to working with top tier directors. Brolin is said to be taking a feature role, so this should be a pairing that will produce exciting results.

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tom-cruise

Want to drop a major piece of casting news? Let it loose on the Friday before the season’s first holiday weekend. Deadline Hollywood reports the genuinely surprising news that Tom Cruise has quit the already-beleaguered The Man from U.N.C.L.E. feature he has been attached to since March. The film has already been through a few incarnations, most notably when it was set to be directed by Steven Soderbergh with George Clooney starring, but it looked to finally be on track with Guy Ritchie directing and Armie Hammer co-starring as one half of an agent duo from the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. Cruise has reportedly stepped aside because of good old-fashioned scheduling conflicts, as he is now turning his attention to producing and starring in that upcoming Mission: Impossible sequel (the fifth film in the franchise). With U.N.C.L.E. still set to film this fall, Cruise seemingly had way too much on his plate to do both.

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tatum:levitt

What is Casting Couch? It’s a whole bunch of casting news that’s being hastily compiled in the middle of an extra long work shift, so it apologizes if it’s uncharacteristically curt. Today we’ve got news concerning names ranging from Jennifer Garner all the way to Diddy. Which pair of modern actors would you say are the modern versions of Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra? Fox is willing to bet that it’s Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. According to Deadline, the studio has just acquired the rights to classic film and stage musical Guys and Dolls, and it’s their hope to sign Tatum and Gordon-Levitt to play the iconic roles of Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit; gambling-addicted friends who make a kind of rapey bet about whether or not they can convince a nice girl to go on a trip to Havana. What do you think, do Tatum and Gordon-Levitt have the singing and dancing talent to pull this off? And are they rapey enough to be right for the parts?

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tom-cruise

What is Casting Couch? An attempted rounding up of all the casting news that’s running loose out there in the wilds of cyberspace (does anyone still say cyberspace?). Read on to find out which big-name actor has become the cherry on top of the sundae that is Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla cast. Can Tom Cruise carry yet another franchise? Despite the fact that he’s already the face of the Mission: Impossible films, where he does the secret agent thing, and the fact that there are plans for him to do more Jack Reacher movies, which see him doing the private detective thing, director Guy Ritchie has decided to go after the veteran movie star to play the lead in his upcoming The Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature anyway. Deadline reports that the actor is currently negotiating to star in the project, which was once upon a time going to star George Clooney and be directed by Steven Soderbergh. Given U.N.C.L.E.’s history of problems, only time will tell if this possible Ritchie/Cruise pairing actually bears fruit. You have to see casting the guy who already launched an old spy show into a successful movie franchise as the new guy trying to launch an old spy show into a successful movie franchise as something of a desperate move though, don’t you?

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Well, this is certainly going to make my piece about the Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows (coming next week! only here at Film School Rejects!) press conference a touch more interesting. Deadline Ratcliff reports that Warner Bros. is currently “making a deal” with director Guy Ritchie and his new partner Lionel Wigram to “come aboard” their The Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature that was recently vacated by director Steven Soderbergh. That’s really just sort of vague – Deadline has really buried the lede on this one, finally getting to it – “the intention is for Ritchie to direct the film.” A ha! Elementary! Ritchie and Wigram recently formed their own production company after making two Sherlock Holmes films together. Wigram wrote and produced the first Sherlock Holmes film, and serves as executive producer on the next installment, opening next week. Wigram has a bevy of other titles under his producer belt, including four Harry Potter films, August Rush, and the upcoming films The Seventh Son and Arthur & Lancelot. Also – the dude was the second unit director on Cool as Ice, so you know what that makes him? Cool as ice. The film still comes complete with a script by Scott Z. Burns, but Soderbergh’s reasons for leaving – including budget struggles and trouble casting the lead – don’t just disappear with Ritchie and Wigram getting on board. Wait, what am I saying? We might as well cast Robert Downey, Jr. in this right now.

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Remember back when Steven Soderbergh was going to retire? Yeah, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. Recently the director was all set to make a big screen adaptation of the old TV show The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which was going to be one of his last movies ever; but once casting and budget problems got too out of hand on that project, the director decided to drop it and move on with his life. That sounds like a pretty obvious decision for a man who has said repeatedly in interviews that he’s over the whole filmmaking thing and wants to move on. Why tear your hair out dealing with a movie that just isn’t coming together? But, in comparison, the newest move the director has made makes less sense, given the context of his recent comments. According to THR he has signed on for a new project called The Bitter Pill. This new film will see Soderbergh re-teaming with his The Informant! and Contagion writer Scott Z. Burns, and is said to be a thriller set in the world of psychopharmacology. Little else is known about the project, however.

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Considering that the casting process for Warner Bros. and Steven Soderbergh’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. adaptation has given me, a completely uninvolved outsider, nothing but headaches, it’s not shocking that The Playlist is reporting that the filmmaker has dropped out of the project for that very same reason. The outlet reports that Soderbergh and the studio were unable to reach agreements regarding both casting and budget, and that the helmer has since left the project, which he has been developing with scribe Scott Z. Burns for nearly two years. The film was originally set to star George Clooney, who dropped out due to an injury, which only paved the way for WB to jump on younger casting options, the last two of which included Bradley Cooper (last month) and Channing Tatum (just this week). Other rumored names included Michael Fassbender, Matt Damon, Joel Edgerton, Ryan Gosling, and even Johnny Depp. Of course, none of these names have signed on for the film (with most of them never even getting an official offer), and most of them have moved on to other projects. Adding to those woes? The studio also reportedly offered up a $60m budget for the film, one that will need to have an A-list star, a slick sixties setting, and a globe-trotting sensibility. Ouch.

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For some reason, Channing Tatum gets mentioned every time Bradley Cooper doesn’t do a project. It happened with The Crow, and now it’s happening with Steven Soderbergh’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. According to Deadline Quantico, Tatum is the latest name to be paraded out in an unclear casting situation. The film, which sees an American spy and a Soviet spy teaming up to save the world, has also got Joel Edgerton rumored (as the человек From U.N.C.L.E.). If that’s a done deal, it’s up to what male lead they’ll get for the American spook. Tatum and Soderbergh are currently working on Magic Mike – a story which plumbs from Tatum’s previous experience as a male stripper. Notorious for working with the same actors, Soderbergh may very well like Tatum for the project, but this is a role that would require a bit more suaveness and class from an actor more known for wearing tank tops and looking gruff. On the other hand, even though he’s had some flat performances and made some bad career choices, Tatum is still absolutely capable of delivering a solid performance, and he might be the big name that gets this thing right off the ground. Or maybe another leading man will surface next week. Or maybe Soderbergh will retire before then.

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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 […]

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In a recent interview with Kurt Anderson, director Steven Soderbergh has announced that he will retire from making movies after his next two films. This isn’t the first time that he has hinted about wrapping up his career in Hollywood, but the man seems pretty well decided at this point. When explaining why he doesn’t want to make movies anymore, Soderbergh said, “It’s just a sense of having been there before. The making of any art is problem solving, and as you work at it, you’re able to eliminate the versions that aren’t any good faster, but at a certain point the salves sort of become the same. And when I started feeling like I’ve done this shot before, I’ve done a scene that’s about this before, that’s when I started thinking seriously about a shift.” I guess he just couldn’t come up with a scenario for another big heist. In all seriousness, Soderbergh is an important director and this will be a blow to movies in general. He did a lot to kick off the independent film movement of the 90s with his 1989 release of Sex, Lies, and Videotape. That film’s success worked as a model for how things that were low budget but interesting could gain an audience and make a lot of money.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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