Man from U.N.C.L.E. loses Soderbergh
Just when one of Filmstalker's oldest friends asked me about the status of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. the other day, along comes surprising news on the very film, Ram, this one's for you. Steven Soderbergh has left the production of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Well, technically I guess I do put two dots in there.
It looks like nothing was coming together for the director on this film and he decided to walk away, and it wasn't just the casting either, which frankly I thought it might be.
We heard that poor George Clooney was off the film as he had to have an operation on his back, that meant they were looking for new cast, and when I was hearing the names mentioned to take the leads I was starting to wonder if the studio were putting pressure on the production to go young and trendy.
Now while I think about that it might not be as bad as I first thought, I had been thinking they needed one more mature actor and a younger actor to play off of each other, but looking back at both Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, I wonder if two young, suave actors would have pulled it off.
Anyway, that'll probably happen now but not with Steven Soderbergh directing.
According to The Playlist article Soderbergh looked to Michael Fassbender and Joel Kinnaman, unfortunately the studio passed on them for this project and hired them elsewhere. Johnny Depp apparently was interested in the role when The Lone Ranger was on hold, but then it wasn't. Rumours went around for all sorts of actors from Bradley Cooper to Joel Edgerton, and just recently Channing Tatum. Matt Damon was even mentioned, but he was busy directing so Warner Bros. offered to hold off the film, something Soderbergh didn't want to do on his schedule. It went on.
So basically casting was all over the place, and bear in mind this isn't unique for a film, this happens all the time, trying to marry stars with schedules of the film, director, and all the key talent involved, it's a production nightmare.
It looked like Tatum might be the one to sign and let the ink dry, however the studio weren't sure on the project apparently, and then came the big one, a budget reduction.
Again, according to the article, budgets were lowered at Warner Bros. and they were wanting the film made for US $60 million, and this is where Soderbergh had the real problem, creating an authentic sixties feel for that amount in a decently cast film with him at the helm seemed like it wouldn't happen, of course the good news would be that it was almost guaranteed to return it, but the studio haven't gone for that.
So with all this up in the air and humming and hawing going on, Steven Soderbergh has seemingly called it quits with his involvement on the project. Which I think is a shame, and I'm sure many of you do.
Of course it doesn't mean we won't get a The Man from U.N.C.L.E. film, it'll just be cheaper or modernised. Remember the original idea was to modernise the story and take it out of the sixties, and when Matthew Vaughn was attached it wasn't going to be set in the same era as the television show, something Soderbergh was very keen on doing.
Is this such a loss? Well yes, but if there's enough call for the film we'll see it happen anyway, of that I'm sure. The questions will be in which time, who will direct, who will lead, and for how much? It almost seems like we're back to square one. When will we see the United Network Command for Law Enforcement fighting the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity?