Now that filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s best bud, George Clooney, is no longer onboard for his screen adaptation of the 1960s spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the search is on for a replacement – who will play the part of secret agent Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn, in the original TV show).

The part of Solo’s comrade, Illya Kuryakin (originally played by David McCallum) also needs to be filled. However, Warner Bros. is going the “younger and hipper” route with that role, and has assembled a wish list of some 20 actors that the studio would like to help co-headline the film with Clooney’s substitute (pardon the wording).

Insiders for The Wrap have mentioned three specific individuals as being the top choices wanted for the part of Kuryakin: Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Alexander Skarsgård. Bear in mind, though, with so many candidates, a completely different actor could end up snagging the role.

All three of those actors are definitely on the up and up, as far as their careers go. Gosling is headlining today’s critically-acclaimed new release, Drive, and will star in (director) Clooney’s latest awards contender, The Ides of March, next month; Gordon-Levitt will headline David Koepp’s upcoming thriller, Premium Rush, and is appearing in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises; and Skarsgård also has a film opening today (the Straw Dogs remake) and will costar in next summer’s Battleship movie – plus, of course, there’s his recurring role on True Blood.

Point being: Warner Bros. could do right by itself, assuming it selects one of these actors for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Who in this trio would fit the role of Kuryakin best, however, is a matter up for debate.

Man from U.N.C.L.E. is being scripted by Scott Z. Burns, who previously wrote Soderbergh’s The Informant! and Contagion. The writer and director’s latest collaboration is reportedly aiming to be an action-comedy that matches the tone of the Lethal Weapon movies – while also retaining the Cold War setting of the original U.N.C.L.E. TV show. Basically, think a movie that combines the light-weight feel of Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven trilogy with the hard-hitting action of his next release, Haywire, and you’ve got a good idea of what to expect in The Man from U.N.C.L.E..

Screen chemistry is always a big factor, when it comes to creating a successful buddy action flick – which means that whoever is cast as Clooney’s replacement will need to work well with his younger costar – whoever that ends up being. Since Soderbergh generally does a very good job of casting his movies, there’s little reason to worry that he’ll mess up that aspect of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – regardless of how the rest of the film turns out.

Production on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is slated to begin by Spring 2012. We’ll let you know when the film has secured an official release date.

Source: The Wrap