The Man From U.N.C.L.E. curse

Warner Bros, which wants to make a movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has seen two possible leading men, George Cooney and Bradley Cooper drop out of the project, is finding it hard to pull off a remake of the 1964-68 televison series.

Welcome to the club.

What follows is a guide to *some* of the previous attempts. Maybe this possible movie really is cursed.

1976-77: Writer-producers Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts hire Sam Rolfe, the original developer of the show, to do a script for a made-for-televison movie that could be the springboard for a new show. “The Malthusian Affair” has some interesting concepts (including having a dwarf occupy an armored exo-skeleton) but it doesn’t get past the script stage. Had it become reality, Robert Vaughn and David McCallum would have reprised their roles as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin.

Early 1980s: Would-be producers Danny Biederman and Robert Short cobble together a theatrical movie project. Their script had Thrush, the villainous orgnaization of the original series, take over the world without anyone realizing it. Vaughn and McCallum had expressed interest, as had former 007 production designer Ken Adam. Alas, nothing happened.

1983:: The only post-series U.N.C.L.E. project, the made-for-television series movie The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. airs on CBS. No series, or even a sequel made-for-TV movie, develops.

Early 1990s: Sam Rolfe attempts to do a made-for-cable-television movie that would have been an U.N.C.L.E. “next generation” story. Rolfe drops dead of a heart attack in 1993, ending any such prospect.

Circa 2004-2005: Norman Felton, executive producer of the orignal show, cuts a deal with a small production company for some sort of cable-televison project. Nothing concrete occurs.

2010-2011:: Warner Bros. entices director Steven Soderbergh to direct an U.N.C.L.E. movie after a number of false starts. As of now, nothing concrete has occurred. Whether that remains the case remains to be seen. Still, the odds seem long that Ian Fleming’s other spy (created with Norman Felton) will make a comeback.

UPDATE: For crying out loud, according to THIS STORY ON THE PLAYLIST WEB SITE, Johnny Depp wanted to play the Illya Kuryakin role played by David McCallum in the original show. But when Depp backed out, that complicated matters.

20 Responses

  1. Whats wrong here? need new Blood to make a New UNCLE.
    Hire ex 007 prod staffers if needbe.
    Make globalwide.
    update UNCLE carbine. & cars.
    (for today) IE UNCLE I Phone??
    UNCLE & MI6 project venture with 007?
    More can be done Im sure.
    Poll UNCLE fans etc.

  2. Make your own UNCLE internet film. I’ll help.

  3. […] 10. There’s a curse on this project. Or hadn’t you heard that? […]

  4. […] still an active project? Hard to say. Potential movies can kick around for years (just ask fans of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. who’ve waited for decades to see if a movie version would develop. But it would appear […]

  5. Use the way SHIELD is depicted in the recent Marvel Superhero movies (The Avengers included) and the blueprint for a new The Man From UNCLE movie is secured!

  6. […] broadcast produced respectable ratings but CBS passed on committing to a new U.N.C.L.E. series. Despite many attempts, Return remains the last official U.N.C.L.E. […]

  7. […] see. There has been A LONG HISTORY of unsuccessful attempts to revive U.N.C.L.E. The original series began with meetings in New York […]

  8. […] posted before about how there’s a CURSE that seems to prevent new versions of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. from becoming reality. But there also […]

  9. […] broadcast produced respectable ratings but CBS passed on committing to a new U.N.C.L.E. series. Despite many attempts, Return remains the last official U.N.C.L.E. […]

  10. […] Deadline put the word “SHOCKER” in its headline, which is a bit misleading because THERE’S A CURSE that has prevented a revival of U.N.C.L.E. from getting off the ground for decades. Meanwhile, this […]

  11. […] Is this going to get made or not? Given the ROCKY HISTORY of U.N.C.L.E. revivals, I wouldn’t go banco on […]

  12. […] 35 years or so of ATTEMPTED REVIVALS OF THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., one recurring problem has been who to cast as Napoleon Solo, the title […]

  13. […] Warner Bros., which is releasing Man of Steel and has the rights to U.N.C.L.E., hasn’t made an official announcement. Trying to come up with a new version of the 1964-68 series starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum has a very complicated history full of missteps. […]

  14. […] some caution would be in order. Also, there have been executive changes at Warners. Perhaps The Man From U.N.C.L.E. curse hasn’t been lifted […]

  15. […] 30 years of fan discussion has centered on either the original show or U.N.C.L.E. projects that didn’t get made. Looking on the bright side, the U.N.C.L.E movie is something new to talk about — whether the […]

  16. […] potential U.N.C.L.E. franchise or back to limbo? There have been various attempts to revive the 1964-68 series. But there was a 15-year gap between the series and a 1983 television […]

  17. […] the seeming curse whether there’d even be an U.N.C.L.E. movie, it’s remarkable there’s even a film […]

  18. […] If Me TV has changed its mind, perhaps it’s yet another example of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. curse. […]

  19. […] Some fans were concerned about the January release date. That’s sometimes viewed as a dumping ground for movies not good enough for the end-of-the-year holiday season. Now it’s slated for a late summer slot. By the time August 2015 rolls around, it will have been 23 months since the start of principal photography. Another chapter in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. curse? […]

  20. […] decades, it seemed like there was a curse. Various attempts were made to revive U.N.C.L.E. to no avail. It finally happened. It’s not a […]

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