Clooney exiting U.N.C.L.E. movie, Deadline reports

George Clooney is pulling out of director Steven Soderbergh’s planned movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the Deadline entertaintment Web site reports.

Here’s part of a short post by Deadline’s Mike Fleming:

Still trying to get a clear sense of the reason for the exit of Clooney, who is Soderbergh’s former partner and did the Ocean’s Eleven films and Out of Sight with the director. I’m told that Warner Bros intends to stay on track for a February 2012 start for the movie.

To read the enire post, JUST CLICK HERE.

Clooney, 50, is the same age Robert Vaughn was when he reprised the role of Napoleon Solo in the 1983 television movie The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., where Solo comes back from retirement to take on a revitalized Thrush, the criminal organization that was U.N.C.L.E.’s primary adversary in the original 1964-1968 series.

Some U.N.C.L.E. fans, expressing themselves on the Internet absolutely hated the idea of casting Clooney, saying he was too old. There is also an element of U.N.C.L.E. fans who say no actors are worthy of the roles of Solo and Illya Kuryakin other than Vaughn and David McCallum. (We once provided our own whimsical proposal for an U.N.C.L.E. film aimed at that fan segment.)

At this point, it’s hard to determine if this is a body blow to Soderbergh (who, among, other things, has watched almost all first-season episodes of the show to prep for directing it). Soderbergh is viewed as a talented director, though he is planning to retire by around the time he turns 50. Thus, the project may indeed still be proceeding. Clooney had been the only casting even mentioned for the movie but there had never been a formal announcement by Warner Bros.

Then again, will Soderbergh still be interested in U.N.C.L.E. if his old pal Clooney is not?

So it remains to see if Ian Fleming’s other spy (co-created with Norman Felton), with the series developed by Sam Rolfe, will make a comeback or not.

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