Guy Ritchie In Negotiations To Direct ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 2nd, 2013 at 9:03 am,

Steven Soderbergh finally called it quits on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV show adaptation a few weeks back (at the time of writing this) as he was unable to agree with Warner Bros. executives over both the proper casting and budget for the 1960s-set secret agent adventure-thriller. The film has since then been in a state of development limbo, as far as the general population has been concerned.

Warner Bros., however, isn’s ready to allow the project to collapse just yet; the studio is now negotiating to bring the duo responsible for its renovated Sherlock Holmes franchise (ie. producer Lionel Wigram and director Guy Ritchie) onboard for Man from U.N.C.L.E..

Deadline says that the plan is for Ritchie to direct Man from U.N.C.L.E., which already has an (essentially) complete screenplay in place, as penned by previous Soderbergh collaborator, Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!, Contagion). However, the site’s report makes no mention as to whether or not Wigram and Ritchie have plans to rework Burns’ script draft.

The original Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV series ran from 1964-1968; it revolves around an American (Napoleon Solo) and a Russian (Illya Kuryakin) – a buddy duo who work for the United Network Command For Law and Enforcement (a.k.a. U.N.C.L.E.) organization, which strives to keep the world safe – especially from a dangerous criminal body known as the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity (a.k.a. T.H.R.U.S.H.).

Burns and Soderbergh were envisioning the Man from U.N.C.L.E. film adaptation as a period action flick that would retain the show’s 1960s setting, but also mark the first installment in a new globe-trotting franchise that would serve as an alternative to the Mission: Impossible movie series – seeing how the latter also originated in the mid-1960s as a television show, but was “updated” to a contemporary setting when it made the jump to the big screen.

Most moviegoers would probably agree that Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies are good examples of how to effectively go about “updating” an older property, while also both remaining loyal in spirit to the original inspiration and not actually changing the setting. So, assuming the 1960s backdrop does not end up being…dropped, Ritchie seems a reasonable (if somewhat unexpected) choice to helm The Man from U.N.C.L.E..

man from uncle movie casting shortlist Guy Ritchie In Negotiations To Direct The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

In terms of style, Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. should be quite different from Soderbergh’s (planned) version. The former filmmaker is known for (among other things) his highly-energetic camerawork, clever use of music, and overall fast-and-loose approach to storytelling. Soderbergh, by comparison, tends to favor more of an “artsy” aesthetic (ex. inventive camera angles/editing) and smooth-handed structure, even on his more mainstream efforts.┬áDepending on your personal preference, a Ritchie-directed Man from U.N.C.L.E. might sound more, less, or just as appealing (or, rather, not appealing) than one helmed by Soderbergh.

Once Wigram and Ritchie are officially set for Man from U.N.C.L.E., the next step will be to secure two leading men for the picture. That might be easier said than done, seeing how (reportedly) part of the reason behind Soderbergh’s departure was Warner Bros.’ inability to decide what sort of Hollywood actors should be sought for the film – either a more seasoned veteran (ex. George Clooney) or a younger up-and-comer (ex. Ryan Gosling).


We will continue to keep you posted on the status of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as more information is released.

Source: Deadline

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  1. Guy Richie? I like the idea, a lot. Could be jolly good fun. I think I could live with an update, placing it here in time. Perhaps we can get cameo’s by the original stars as older and wiser ex-agents? Could have a lot of fun with that as with the whole “T.H.R.U.S.H.” thing and today’s modern technology……
    This series was one of my favorite shows as a kid in the 60′s. Just don’t F it up. That is why I would love to see it in Guy Richie’s hands after what he has done to Sherlock Holmes.

    • thrush? oh god i can see where this is going….
      snatch meets austin powers.

  2. This makes the new editiong of the Man from UNCLE more appealing. Perhaps Ritchie can faithfully recreate the series to the movies without the travesty that Cruise inflicted on us with his MI films.

  3. Man from uncle deserves an all out big bang revival…go for it warner bros!!!!!!

  4. Paul Bettany would be a perfect Illya Kuryakin !

  5. The series that made spies fun, or was it made fun at spies. Loved the series, loved the theme music (preferred the first year’s version), loved the Dry Cleaner entrance, loved the leads Napolean, Illya and Mr Waverley and loved Thrush. It was classic fun, a weekly James Bond series, cleverly involving Mr or Ms Ordinary as significant elements of each stroy to make you feel that you could be a part of the spy vs spy ‘Save the World’ missions. If Richie can maintain those elements with a modern twist, I’m all for it. Wonder if he would consider doing The Invaders also, though his tongue in cheek style may not be suited to a more paranoid genre.

  6. This is great Guy Richie!!! Expect no story, terrible acting but awesome special effects…

  7. This was my favorite tv program and I hope they can bring it back.

  8. Ron Livingston should play Napoleon Solo

  9. I can see Tom Cruise as Napoleon Solo and Johnny Depp as Illya Kuryakin.

  10. Loved that show really happy about movie johnny depp would b good loved him in the tourist

  11. Love Man From Uncle, I would rather see Alexander Skarsgard as Illya, Kyle Mclauglan would have been great as Napolean, but maybe too old now. Armie Hammer would be ok, hope Tom Cruise isn’t Nap Solo, there are too many remakes w/the wrong people cast. Good example: Wild Wild West movie, George Clooney should have been Jim West!

  12. Unfortunately, rumors now claim TMFU cast will be the bad gay Superman actor and the bad gay propagandist fake-Lone Ranger actor. Box-office disaster ensues. No one wins.

  13. This movie won’t be made. It will be stalled again, then cancelled, then recast. To turn this legend into a bad, cheap, twisted version with bad actors, directors and screenwriters just spells a big messy disaster for everyone that positively no one will ever, ever see. It’s already a disaster bomb before these rumor reports are even confirmed or produced.

  14. TMFU – classic. Lets hope the silly technology is maintained. The ballpoint pen as a communications device ( open channel D ) and the U.N.C.L.E. gun all agents carry ( which was a Walther P38 with optional extended magazine, extended barrel, tubular attachable stock, optical sight, suppressor and full-auto capable……and the theme music. GOT to maintain the theme music.