Tom Cruise Exits Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’

Published 2 years ago by

cruise Tom Cruise Exits Guy Ritchies The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

We first heard concrete news of yet another big-screen adaptation of a classic TV series – namely, 60′s spy romp The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which has languished in development hell since the 1990′s – quite some time ago. Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin was originally named as director, with a script by Max Borenstein.

Not long after that, Steven Soderbergh was reportedly on board to helm the project from a script by Scott Z. Burns (Side Effects), with George Clooney eyed for the lead. Clooney then abandoned the project, and while the film was left on the ever-busy Soderbergh’s back-burner for quite some time, he too eventually bowed out.

Now, Deadline reports that Cruise has left the project in order to focus on Mission: Impossible 5, which he’s producing and starring in. Word is that Paramount and Skydance are ready to begin shooting the latest entry in Cruise’s signature franchise before the end of the year, a timetable which conflicted with Warner Bros.’s plans for U.N.C.L.E.

Guy Ritchie replaced Soderbergh as director, and together with his Sherlock Holmes producer Lionel Wigram, seemed poised to finally shepherd this high-profile – and potential franchise-starter – into theaters. The ground shook when it was reported that Tom Cruise would presumably take the lead role of Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn in the original series), with The Lone Ranger‘s Armie Hammer (to play a similarly updated version of the character Illya Kuryakin, originally portrayed by David McCallum) soon joining him.

The Man From UNCLE movie Tom Cruise Exits Guy Ritchies The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

This project just cannot catch a break. While it’s theoretically possible that Cruise could shoot this before starting in on M:I5 (by all accounts, Warner Bros. is ready to shoot U.N.C.L.E. this fall but if they really wanted Cruise, they could be compelled to re-schedule), Cruise’s lasting investment in the Mission: Impossible series requires his attention. With Ghost Protocol proving the most well-received (and biggest success) of the franchise so far – and with his last two star turns Oblivion and Jack Reacher under-performing, Cruise is taking no chances.

The scheduling difficulties appear to be the official reason for the star’s departure, but with Soderberg leaving over creative differences, there may have been disagreements over the direction of the project. Or the entire premise may just be as stale as it sounds. The idea of a spoofy spy flick was fun in, say, 1997 (the year the first Austin Powers movie premiered) but as the last few entries in the Pierce Brosnan run as James Bond approached self-parody themselves – and with Daniel Craig dominating as a muscular, no-nonsense Bond in Skyfall – the notion of a hyper-kinetic Guy Ritchie spy movie doesn’t seem quite as exciting anymore.

Odds are Warner Bros. will keep this moving, and quickly find a new name for the picture. This could also be a big opportunity for Armie Hammer – still firmly attached – to move into the lead role. He’ll have to prove he can hold his own next to a scenery-chewing Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger, but judging by the trailers and his impressive turn in The Social Network as the Winklevoss twins, he looks to be ready for leading-man status.

More on this project as it plays out.


Source: Deadline

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
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  1. Good call, Maverick! You already have one Bond knockoff to call your own. No sense in being greedy.

  2. Michael Fassbender. Git er done

    • Neat idea, I like it, but he probably won’t be available, especially with Assassin’s Creed on his plate. I’d want him to play Illya Kuryakin by the way.

  3. Excellent news!!!!!

    • +1

  4. Looks like he’s holding Megatron!

  5. Maybe they should merge productions with Jane Got A Gun.
    Or would that be too Wild Wild West?

  6. “– and with his last two star turns Oblivion and Jack Reacher under-performing, Cruise is taking no chances”

    You nailed it, Anthony. This is the driving force behind Tom’s choice.
    The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is far from a sure thing unlike MI5 plus
    he was wrong for the role anyway making it more dicey.

    • Cruise turns 51 in a few weeks. As risky as he’s been in his career, his body might not be cut out for the action a movie like this requires anymore. Better to protect himself for his already established Mission: Impossible franchise. As for his last two films, I enjoyed Reacher, thanks in large part to the supporting cast. I stayed away from Oblivion, honestly, because Olga Kurylenko tends to be the sign of lackluster films (Hitman, Quantum of Solace, Centurion).

      • A man has to know his limitations as Clint famously said
        and Eastwood himself made adjustments at Tom’s age.
        And nobody was defying age better than Clint was.

        I caught up with Reacher myself and enjoyed it as well.
        Oblivion I avoided for the reasons you mentioned but
        I could catch it at home down the road where I
        can easily bail out if the plane is going down.

        • Good call on Oblivion gents. It’s a rental. Lol

  7. Very happy that Cruise is out.
    Have always loved U.N.C.L.E., and want to see it done justice.
    Cruise was wrong for Napoleon Solo, plus, he’s pretty much a one note actor.
    Other than Impossible, he hasn’t had a good movie since Minority Report.
    For me at least, most of his films are Red box fodder. Nothing I will pay for in a theatre. Just personally think he is over rated.
    Plus I’m still mad that he turned Jim Phelps into a bad guy.
    Clooney would be an awesome choice.
    Just hope it doesn’t turn into Get Smart.

    • What happened with Jim Phelps was unforgivable.

      • +1

        • Greg Morris walked out less than half way through
          the film because of it saying ”It’s an abomination”.

    • @Michael

      I think Clooney is also a bit old for the role, and I would like to see an actual Russian play Illya Kuryakin although did like David McCallum in the role originally.

      Needs to be someone in their late 20′s, early 30′s to play both those roles, good mature age but still not too old.

      • You are right of course, Clooney is way too old. And I do hope that they set it in the ’60″s.

        • I’m down set it in the ’60″s.
          I even wanted that with Bond.

          • I’d love to see a set of Bond film set back in the 60′s.
            Chances of it ever happening are about zero but one can wish.

  8. If the movie takes place in the early 1960s, and it is not a parody like Get Smart or Austin Powers, then Hells yeah, I’d pay good money to see it!

  9. I don’t know much about this movie or anything related to it but just by looking at the pictures you could use RDJ and Aaron Eckhart to play the roles. just a thought

  10. Neither Cruise or Clooney seem right, whatever their merits, for Napoleon Solo, and I have my doubts about Hammer as Ilya K. I do want to see this movie made, though, as I used to like the original series back in the 60s.

  11. Looking at the pics Cruise wouldn’t be right. I think Collin Firth would do a good job in it. Underrated actor in my opinion

    • @Rob

      Colin Firth? Underrated?

      Doubt that, since he was outstanding in the Kings Speech and got an academy award for it.

      Under utilized is more like it.

    • Collin Firth could fill the shoes of a cool Napoleon Solo.
      I agree with Jeff, it is not that he is underrated, but
      he is not considered for some roles which he could
      be well-suited and this is a good example of one.

  12. Jack Reacher was kind of a surprise for me.
    I won’t say it was amazing but I thought it was a competent action flick resembling those that were popular in the late 80′s-90′s.
    I have no knowledge of The Man From U.N.C.L.E though so I’m neither here nor there about Cruise departing the project. I’m sure there’s plenty of others that can step in but I’d be surprised if it was Hammer. He’s top-notch talent but not leading man status yet.

  13. Amen to Michael Fassbender.