Could Johnny Depp wreck U.N.C.L.E. movie?

“Have our little plans gone askew?”

–Thrush villain Victor Marton (Vincent Price) in The Foxes and Hounds Affair

If Steven Soderbergh’s planned movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. crashes without reaching production, it may be due to a chain reaction involving Johnny Depp. At least, that’s the impression you getting reading between the lines of a POST ON THE PLAYLIST WEB SITE.

Playlist first SAID IN SEPTEMBER that Soderbergh’s first choices to play U.N.C.L.E. agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, the lead characters of the 1964-68 television series, were Michael Fassbender and Joel Kinnaman. In the new post on Nov. 9, the Playlist says Warner Bros. had been on board with those choices. The plot thickened, however.

The monkey wrench came however when “The Lone Ranger” had fell into budget problems at Disney. In the interim, Johnny Depp read the Scott Z. Burns-penned (U.N.C.L.E.) script and wanted to take the Ilya (sic) role. WB were over the moon and essentially let it be known that Soderbergh could essentially cast anyone in the lead with a huge star like Depp in co-starring role.

Of course, after a little budget cutting, The Lone Ranger was again given a green light and Depp was no longer interested in U.N.C.L.E. In the interim, according to the Playlist, Fassbender and Kinnaman moved onto other projects. In effect, Depp’s flirtation with taking on the role made famous by David McCallum cost pre-production time for the U.N.C.L.E. project.

More complications, according to the account: the studio now wanted Matt Damon to star, except he’s busy.

WB pushed to shoot the (U.N.C.L.E.) film the following year, in early 2013 with Damon in the lead, but Soderbergh – who definitely wants to make the Liberace biopic “Behind The Candelabra” his last film for at least the foreseeable future — held his ground.

Soderbergh is supposed to direct the Liberace project, which will be shown on HBO, around mid-2012. Based on the Playlist account, the clock *appears* to be ticking. If Soderbergh and Warners can’t get leads cast *relatively soon* it may be hard to get an U.N.C.L.E. movie in production in time for Soderbergh to do it. And, as of now, there’s no Kuryakin and no Solo, played by Robert Vaughn in the television series.

Thus, Depp’s involvement may prove to be the catalyst that eventually runs wrecks an U.N.C.L.E. movie before it starts. That’s certainly the case if — and we stress that word — Soderbergh departs. Development likely would start all over again from scratch. We’ll see.

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5 Responses

  1. Have a online poll among UNCLE fans??
    Have an ex Bond do UNCLE??
    Or find someone for those roles.
    Expand globalwide, Find a real Russian for role of Ilya.
    Very doable or Russian born American.
    Do Online Talent hunt for UNCLE./
    Compare to UNCLE DVDs for role.

  2. The success of any UNCLE film will not lie in its casting, it will lie with its script and director. I sort of hope Matthew Vaughn takes another crack at it after the debacle that was his first attempt / the unfair rising of fandom against him. I enjoyed the sensibilities he brought to the X-Men: First Class film, and still think a set-in-the-60s Man From UNCLE adaptation is the way to go.

  3. I’m sorry, but I think that a Man From UNCLE movie set in the present would be better than one set in the past simply because of the popularity of Mad Men. I look at the success of the Hawaii Five-Oreboot and other successful reboots and I think that a new Man From UNCLE set now would work better than one set in the distant past that would just sound like a massive fanservice thing that wouldn’t get anybody else but UNCLE fans to see it. And since the Soderberg movie seems to be dead, it looks as if some other director/writer/producer might just set it today.

  4. […] This is worth noting here for two reasons: 1) Armie Hammer, who plays the title character, is slated to portray Illya Kuryakin in an upcoming film version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 2) Johnny Depp, whose Tonto is the primary character in the latest incarnation of The Lone Ranger, had expressed his interest in the Kuryakin role back in 2011, which greatly complicated the production of the would-be movie. […]

  5. Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d
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