The drawn-out casting process for Warner Bros.’ The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has taken its toll; Steven Soderbergh is officially no longer onboard to direct the 1960s spy show adaptation.

Word that Channing Tatum could play one of the leads in Man from U.N.C.L.E. popped up recently, but, according to a new report, Soderbergh began eying other scripts to make his next directorial effort a few weeks before the actor (who worked with the filmmaker on the upcoming Haywire and Magic Mike) was even approached.

The Playlist says that Warner Bros. and Soderbergh couldn’t reach a agreement over either casting or budgeting for The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which was being designed as the first entry in a new trilogy of globe-trotting spy tentpole releases.

Rising stars like Bradley Cooper were apparently mentioned, but never actually offered either of the film’s two lead roles (previous reports to the contrary) and Warner Bros. was never set on exactly which young A-lister they wanted to headline the project, following George Clooney’s departure. Soderbergh had his eye on Michael Fassbender and The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman, but the two were eventually recruited for other Warner films – something that “never sat well [with] the filmmaker.”

Warner executives also wanted Man from U.N.C.L.E. to cost no more than $60 million, but Soderbergh did not see that as a sufficient amount, given the demands of the project (ex. the construction of 1960s-era sets/props, multi-continental settings, etc.). Since Soderbergh was set on a March 2012 production start date, and did not foresee either the casting or budget issues being settled by that point, he decided to vacate the director’s chair.

Now that Soderbergh is no longer involved, it seems The Man From U.N.C.L.E. could fall back into development limbo, despite having an (essentially) ready-to-go script by Scott Z. Burns. Soderbergh’s take on the project looks to become the latest in a long line of failed iterations, which includes one devised by David Dobkins (who is now working on Warner Bros.’ upcoming Arthur & Lancelot).

Who exactly will sign on for to helm the TV show adaptation next – and whether or not they will scrap the period setting favored by Soderbergh and Burns, in order to create a more modernized spy action franchise (a la Mission: Impossible) – remains to be seen.

Were you looking forward to Steven Soderbergh’s take on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.? Or are you glad to hear he’s moving on to different (cinematic) pastures?

Source: The Playlist