A footnote (or two) to last year’s aborted U.N.C.L.E. movie

A story popped this week on the Deadline entertainment news Web site that reminded us of last year’s aborted movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Channing Tatum: one-time Solo contender, now hot Hollywood property


The May 29 story said GI Joe 2 was being delayed from the end of June until early 2013 so scenes could be reshot. The reason? So that Channing Tatum’s character, who was going to be killed off, would miraculously survive. The original announcement of the delay said it was so the movie could be converted to the 3D format.

Anyway, we were minded about the U.N.C.L.E. project because Tatum had been mentioned as a possible Napoleon Solo had director Steven Soderbergh not exited the project. Tatum, a mix of linebacker build, jug ears and six-pack abs, wasn’t our first choice for the role. However, according to Deadline, Tatum is now such a hot property that Paramount decided it couldn’t afford his character being killed off in GI Joe 2. Tatum is in the Magic Mike movie coming out in June about male strippers directed by Soderbergh.

Meanwhile, all this got us to thinking more broadly about a 21st Century U.N.C.L.E. Throughout most of 2011, it seemed as every turn of the screw got lots of media attention — until Soderbergh quit. There were reports that Warner Bros. still wants to make an U.N.C.L.E. but the project is off the radar.

Robert Vaughn: the original Solo


Speculation (and we stress it’s only that): the source of much of 2011′s coverage of U.N.C.L.E. movie developments stemmed from Soderbergh himself. He granted many interviews, which makes you wonder if he was the source of the stories attributed to “sources.” There’s no way to know for sure. Still, once Soderbergh became involved, there were stories aplenty. After he left, virtually none.

In any case, for now, the only Napoleon Solo anybody is going to see is Robert Vaughn’s original on DVD.

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