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The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: Movie May Finally Get Made with George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh

The Man from UNCLESometimes it just takes getting the right people in place to get a project underway. That could be the case for the movie adaptation of the mid-sixties series Man From U.N.C.L.E. After sitting on the shelf for more than a decade, the people behind the scenes of the Warner Bros. film are being shuffled around to hopefully finally get this project off the ground.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ran on NBC from 1964 through 1968. The TV show stars Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as two spies, one American and one Russian, who work for an international law enforcement agency, the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (abbreviated to U.N.C.L.E.). The series, which credits Ian Fleming (the man behind James Bond) as a creator, also bore a short-lived spin-off in The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., over twenty novels, and a 1983 reunion titled The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair.

Originally Warner Bros. started working on the movie adaptation in the 1990s, with David Wilson writing the original script, and Max Borenstein working the rewrites. David Dobkin (The Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus) had been tapped as director. At that time, it was expected that the output would be geared towards action-comedy.

This movie adaptation is once again seeing life, with Dobkin moving from director to producer, and John Davis joining him. Steven Soderbergh, the man behind Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven, and Traffic, is in talks to take over as director. Scott Z. Burns, the writer of Soderbergh’s films The Informant and the upcoming Contagion would come into the project as well to write an all-new script.

It also looks like George Clooney may join the project as American spy Napoleon Solo, Vaughn’s old role. He and Soderbergh have worked together on several projects already. According to Playlist, the film will retain the 1960s setting, a time period that Soderbergh has a great affection for.

Current plans are for the picture to shoot in late 2001 but it may ultimately get pushed into 2012.

What do you think? Would you be interested in seeing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie with these players? Do you think it stands a better chance than other TV show-based movies of being good?

 

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

DennyV March 13, 2011 at 8:32 am

I enjoyed the origianl TV series, but I am not too thrilled with the movie being set in the 60s. Technology has came a long way and there are a ton of gadgets that can come in to play if the movie was set in present day. Also, I like Clooney, but I think he is too old for Solo. My choices would be Chris Pine for Solo and Anton Yelchin for Kuryakin. Who are they? They both appeared in Star Trek (2009) Chris played Kirk and Anton played Chekov.

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John Monde February 16, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Please make it a serious spy movie like the first season of the original and not the camp version of seasons 3 following. Bring back David McCallum and Robert Vaughn as the heads of UNCLE New York and Moscow. Get new stars with the chemistry that Vaughn and McCallum had. But pleeze don’t make it camp!!!! And you’ll have a winner!

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George K February 6, 2011 at 5:17 am

Although George Clooney is an okay choice as Solo, I can’t help but see Kevin Spacey as more suited to the role. Spacey has more the Vaughan/Solo characteristics, and even if you think about it, the Vaughan dialogue inflections, which Vaughan effectively used, giving Life to the character. There is a prominent British actor who could also be Mr Waverly.
Not sure about Illya’s character.

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carmelo rodrigquez January 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I agree with Bob behers, need to update the movie script to reflect current time and real problems. Movie must be more action movie then comedy. Sorry Cloney is too old for the part of solo. And you don’t need a Seth Rogen type in a in a lead role -he did not add any value to the current movie release.

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Avery December 26, 2010 at 11:11 pm

I would absolutely love to see the show made into a movie! It’s about time! As to casting, I think Clooney would work just fine as Solo. He has the same devil-may-care vibe as Vaughn, and the prerequisite twinkle in his eye. Lots of sex appeal, too. For the role of Illya, I have no suggestions, other than that he be charismatic. He doesn’t need to be a “name” actor, but his presence has to leap off the screen the way McCallum’s did. I think James Marsters looks too old to play the part–he would have been perfect back in the Buffy days.

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John Bryans Fontaine December 18, 2010 at 7:51 am

I think that Clooney would be great as Napoleon Solo, but if he doesn’t get the role, Matt LaBlanc should because he looks like Robert Vaughn

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Jane November 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I would like to see James Marsters (Spike) get the bleach out once more and to play Ilya .
No-one else will do, thank you very much. Don’t care so much about Mr Solo – Ben Affleck, maybe…?

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Bob behers November 24, 2010 at 12:37 pm

There is more appeal potential if the movie would present UNCLE as being ressurected to deal with the new wave of international terrorrism. Refunded with basically the same cause, International Law Enforcement. And why Solo & Kuryakin? Let Vaughn and McCallum have a star shot as themselves as the older agents now brought in to administration to help guide the new UNCLE. Definitley a small bit of closure on the death of Mr. Waverly. I see potential for this to take it’s own rank with a new audience following based on life today. There are real Thrush agents out there…..we call them by other terrorist names. This needs to be more like the “classic James Bond” movie, a complicated 2 1/2 hr script, featuring worldwide locations, sexy women, an evil villian, a world wide threat, and UNCLE as a many special agent organization. REWRITE THE ORGANIZATION AS IT WOULD EXIST RESSURECTED TODAY! Give us two agents not unlike Solo and Kuryakin, but give us out UNCLE GUYS as they are agewise today and with important knowledge to help run the new agency. Quite simple really……

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Z Man November 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm

We had me interested until you said George Clooney the Looney was involved. Surely they could come up with someone more suited for the role than that! Clooney, Baldwin, Sarandon, & Penn are on the Do Not Watch List.

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Cara November 21, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Not with Clooney in the role of Solo, I wouldn’t be interested. He is just too old for the part.

The 1960s setting sounds spot-on and I agree with making it a bit more serious with just comedic touches, as the series was at its best. But they need a 30-something Solo.

There are lots of young actors in Hollywood. I hope WB seriously reconsiders the Clooney connection.

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k whiteley November 21, 2010 at 12:18 am

i loved the show and would love to see a re-make of it. It is always hard to replace the original characters, but it is always worth a try. George Clooney could do a very good job.

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nellie November 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm

I WOULD LOVE TO SEE U.N.C.L.E MOVIE , THEREFORE LOOKING FORWARD TO ITS RELEASE IN NEAR FUTURE.

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Dutch November 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm

If the current plans have it shooting in 2001, isn’t it a tad on the late side by now?

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Santicus November 20, 2010 at 4:27 am

“The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair ” is from 1983, not 1993

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admin November 20, 2010 at 4:48 am

@Santicus: You’re right. Thanks for catching that!

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Daniel November 19, 2010 at 10:53 am

Loved the show, the books, and the comics. Can’t wait for the movie. I Like George Clooney but he could NEVER be as cool as Robert Vaughn was.

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tass November 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Not only that, I don’t know about Robert Vaughn, but I do know that David McCallum, is alive and well and still sexy on TV,,,,,he needs to be part of that movie,,,,,,,,,,and if mr vaughn is still with us, so does he, they’d be “bringing sexy back” for sure,,,,,for us old folks who used to glue themselves to the original Man from Uncle series.

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Chaz November 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

Robert Vaughn is alive and well on British TV. He plays one of the main original characters in the BBC show Hustle, currently filming it’s seventh series.

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