Soderbergh and Clooney on Man from U.N.C.L.E.?
Six years from the first announcement of the current Man from U.N.C.L.E. film and some twenty years since the whole idea of a big screen version of the television series began, and we could finally be seeing some positive movement towards the film adaptation with two big names being rumoured as interested in the project.
News came out the other day that Steven Soderbergh was in early talks to direct the film, and today we hear that George Clooney just might be set to star as one of the iconic characters. Of course this is all early rumour and conjecture, and they were probably just seen together talking, but...
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. ran from 1964 to 1968 in the U.S. which saw some excellent dry wit brought to the screen in a show about two partnered agents in a secret organisation fighting another secret group intent on taking over the world, or just destroying parts of it.
I do wonder why it was never called The Men from U.N.C.L.E., but there you go. Anyway the series followed agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kullyakin from U.N.C.L.E., which stood for United Network Command for Law Enforcement, fighting organised criminals such as those belonging to the group T.H.R.U.S.H., which itself stood for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity.
Solo was played by Robert Vaughn and Kullyakin was played by David McCallum, who you will now see as a core member of N.C.I.S. and has had a reference or two made about his similarities to the agent on the television show. The head of U.N.C.L.E. was played by Leo G. Carroll and the series was full of wit, innuendo, and plenty of style.
The article even reveals that Ian Fleming was a creator of the show, something I didn't realise myself, however the most important part of it all is what the tone for the film is. With previous writers it would seem that action comedy was the direction, and that fills me with dread for how badly it could turn out. However if Burns writes and Soderbergh directs, not the first time the two have been together, then this could still carry comedy, but it could well be closer to the wit and style of the original with the action and thriller elements ramped up.
That's something that would suit George Clooney as well who would do well to play the lead role of Solo, taking over from Vaughn, if the rumour from The Playlist and The Hollywood Reporter Heat Vision is true. The question then would be, if all this did fall into place, who would play his partner the Russian agent Illya Kullyakin?
Apparently the time period the film is set in is to be retained, although I think it's really early to be making such bold statements when the director and new writer haven't signed up yet and could take the project in a lot of different directions. If that's also true though, then a Russian agent it would be, but who? Does Brad Pitt do a good Russian accent?