Tom Cruise

Warner Bros. is not giving up The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The spy thriller has been kicking around for several years at the studio, going through Matthew Vaughn, David Dobkin, and Steven Soderbergh before finally landing with Guy Ritchie in 2011. The project’s been pretty quiet sinc then, but now it may be about to take a big step forward.

According to a new report, Tom Cruise is in early talks to take the lead role of Napoleon Solo, the Cold War spy originally portrayed by Robert Vaughn in the ’60s TV series. Hit the jump for more details.

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Briefly: There’s not much info right now, but it is sounding like Guy Ritchie is going to continue his partnership with Warner Bros. after making the two action-oriented Sherlock Holmes films. He and Holmes producer Lionel Wigram are forming a new company, and the two have just made a deal with Warner Bros. to board The Man From U.N.C.L.E., scripted by Scott Z. Burns and formerly set to be directed by Steven Soderbergh.

At this point Deadline just reports the deal, without specifying that Ritchie will direct. But this would be a pretty obvious big follow-up to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. (Deadline later updated to say that “the intention is for Ritchie to direct the film.”

The question now would be casting. George Clooney was once cast in one of the two big roles, but left the gig because of concerns about his physical condition and the effect that would have on his ability to perform the film’s action. Warner Bros. was unable to come to new casting decisions, which was a big part of why former director Steven Soderbergh left the project just weeks ago. We’ll have more on this one as it develops.

Steven Soderbergh Drops ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’

You may have followed the breadcrumb trail of casting reports for Steven Soderbergh‘s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. up to this point, but here’s the thing: it is no longer Steven Soderbergh’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Warner Bros. has worked for years to make a new film version of the old cold war TV spy series, and the director who created three fun films based on a Rat Pack heist movie seemed like the go-to guy to make it happen. But George Clooney had to drop out of the lead role for physical reasons and in his absence no other casting solution could be agreed upon.

So, after months of back and forth, with Warner Bros. wanting the movie to be cheaper than Soderbergh thought appropriate, and no locked leading men, Steven Soderbergh has moved on. Read More »

Apparently, Channing Tatum is the guy you call when Bradley Cooper drops out of a project. Over the summer, Tatum’s name came up for Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s (now grounded) The Crow remake when Cooper left the project, and now that Cooper’s turned down Steven Soderbergh‘s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Tatum’s reportedly being “eyed” for the lead.

Were Tatum to get the part, it would mark his third collaboration with the director — the two have already completed Haywire together, and are currently working on the male stripper pic Magic Mike. More details after the jump.

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George Clooney, Johnny Depp, and Matt Damon have all passed on the part, and now it appears Bradley Cooper won’t be Steven Soderbergh‘s Man From U.N.C.L.E., either. The Hangover star was offered the lead role of American spy Napoleon Solo in Soderbergh’s big-screen adaptation of the ’60s series last month, but a new report says he’s now turned down the project. Meanwhile, the search for a star to play Solo’s partner, Russian spy Illya Kuryakin, continues. More after the jump.

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The prequel to 300, once called Xerxes and now 300: Battle of Artemisia, has been slowly moving forward for the last couple years as Frank Miller created the graphic novel on which the movie will be based. With Miller’s work done, Zack Snyder, director of 300, and his 300 writer Kurt Johnstad, have finished a script for the new film.

The next step is casting, and while one producer has teased the cameo returns of Gerard Butler and Lena Headey, Battle of Artemisia needs a new leading man to play Themosticles, a Greek general who led the defense against Persia’s invasion in 480 BCE.

Now Joel Edgerton, recently seen in The Thing, Animal Kingdom and Warrior, is reportedly in talks to strip down and oil up for the part.

Update: Edgerton has also reportedly been offered the lead in Steven Soderbergh‘s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Read More »

When George Clooney dropped out of Steven Soderbergh‘s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. a few months back, it sent the project scrambling to find someone to replace him. And now, after a whirlwind search process, the actor they’ve come up with is Bradley Cooper. The Hangover star has been reportedly offered the lead role of American agent Napoleon Solo, and is said to be likely to accept. More details after the jump.

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When George Clooney leaves a project, it’s generally not a good thing. Especially if the film is being directed by one of his best friends and frequent collaborators, Steven Soderbergh. That’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago, though, when Clooney pulled out of Warner Bros. remake of the 1960s television show The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

And while Clooney’s leading role still remains vacant, The Wrap now reports that there’s a list of about 20 actors being looked at for the other lead in this buddy take on the spy genre. Clooney would have presumably played American spy Napolean Solo who teams up with Russian spy Ilya Kuryakin to battle with an agency called T.H.R.U.S.H., the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity. At the top of the list for Kuryakin are Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling and Alexander Skarsgard. Seems Clooney’s departure hasn’t slowed down the film in the slightest. More after the jump. Read More »

Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney have made six films together paired as director and actor (three Ocean’s movies, Out of Sight, Solaris and The Good German), and many more as producing partners. Until today it looked like the seventh directing/starring partnership between the two would be The Man From U.N.C.L.E, with Clooney playing the role that Robert Vaughn made famous on television in the mid-’60s. But now Clooney is “in the process of withdrawing” from the film, leaving Soderbergh with a big spy story remake that has a leading-man sized hole in the middle. Read More »

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Over the past few years Steven Soderbergh has expressed frustration with filmmaking and has, more than once, talked about the prospect of an early retirement from directing. But the last time that talk cropped up it was just before the director went on a serious filmmaking jag. Rapid-fire projects ensued: The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant!, And Everything is Going Fine, Haywire (expect a trailer and poster soon) and Contagion, which is shooting now. Liberace is planned for 2011, and there’s the prospect of a Man From U.N.C.L.E. film from Mr. Soderbergh, as well.

But don’t think that all means that the retirement talk has been buried. Speaking from the set of Contagion, Matt Damon says Steven Soderberg really does plan to retire, and soon. Read More »