The big screen version of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” is one of those projects that has been knocking around for years that has never made it in front of cameras. It has attracted a variety of talent over time including Quentin Tarantino (really), Matthew Vaughan with Daniel Craig attached, David Dobkin and as recently as this summer, Doug Liman (who ended up turning it down). We can’t say we were ever really interested in the project. Until now.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Steven Soderbergh is in early talks to direct the project. While various hands have had their take at the script over the years the deal will include “Contagion” and “The Informant!” scribe Scott Z. Burns to come aboard to pen the screenplay. Dobkin and John Davis will produce.
For those of you unfamiliar with the original program, it was a short lived TV series, very much inspired by the Cold War-era, that chronicled the deeds of American Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Russian Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) in their adventures for the international spy organization U.N.C.L.E. against their archenemy THRUSH. There are a lot of way this material could go to the big screen — you could keep the dapper period setting or update it — but it should be familiar and still somewhat new ground for the genre-hopping Soderbergh and we’d be intrigued to read what Burns could come up with.
The aim is get “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in front of cameras at the end of next year which still allows Soderbergh to get to his planned Liberace biopic with Matt Damon and Michael Douglas which the former recently confirmed was still on track for a summer 2011 shoot. So we guess those claims of retirement from Soderbergh aren’t quite accurate just yet. For now, the director is the midst of shooting his virus thriller “Contagion” and already has his Bourne-esque action thriller “Haywire” in the can and set to hit theaters next year.