After being rumored/offered a handful of projects this year, ranging from “Cannonball Run,” “300: Battle Of Artemesia” and “Excalibur” (which wound up falling apart anyway once Warner Bros. moved ahead with “Arthur & Lancelot“), it looks like the WB has found a project for their “Sherlock Holmes” director to tackle next.
Deadline reports that Guy Ritchie will now take on “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” after Steven Soderbergh recently left the production over casting and budget issues. The movie is a smart one by the studio, putting another brand name director at the helm, particularly one who has been doing great business for the studio (and who they seem to love, as pretty much all of his projects since “RockNRolla” have been developed there). Having successfully turned ‘Sherlock’ into a mega-franchise, WB will be hoping he can do the trick for ‘U.N.C.L.E.’ as well. The script from Scott Z. Burns, which takes places in a ’60s Cold War era London, will still be used but we won’t be suprised if someone is brought in to give it another pass and put it more in line with Ritchie’s own sensibilities.
Still a lot of questions to be answered including when this might lens (when Soderbergh was attached, WB wanted a spring 2012 shoot) or who might take the lead. A plethora of actors — including Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Joel Kinnaman and more — were tossed around during the Soderbergh/WB phase of the project, with neither the director nor the studio ever getting on the same page. The process will likely start over with Ritchie at the helm.
So it looks like a win for both Ritchie and WB. He gets another meaty high profile gig, and the studio gets a solid director who they know can deliver. More to come we’re sure.