Steven Soderbergh, in another interview about his film Haywire, dropped a few more hints what his now-defunct version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. would have been like.
In an interview with The Playlist Web site, the director had this to say about U.N.C.L.E.:
Yeah, with that we had a couple of sequences that I thought conceptually were interesting and weren’t necessarily…there was only one hand to hand thing and there was an element in it that made it different than what we were doing in “Haywire.” Then the other action stuff had interesting ideas in it, that were not sort of straight forward, they all had some kind of weird thing going on. But it was also, I mean it was a real spy movie. Scott [Z. Burns, the writer of this and “Contagion”] wrote it so it was dense, it was smart, it was funny. I really like the Harry Palmer films a lot, so there was a lot of that in that. “The Ipcress File,” “Funeral in Berlin” and “Billion-Dollar Brain.” “Funeral in Berlin” I really liked a lot. Scott and I talked about that a lot. We were watching those as we were working on the script.
Some intriguing comments, in particular how Soderberger was graviating to the Palmer series, based on Len Deighton’s novels, starring Michael Caine and produced by Harry Saltzman, co-founder of Eon Productions. U.N.C.L.E. was disdained by some (including Albert R. Broccoli, the other Eon co-founder) as a Bond ripoff. But with Soderbergh exiting U.N.C.L.E. last year, it’s a vision we’re not going to see.
On the other hand, U.N.C.L.E. was originally pitched as “James Bond for television,” not “Harry Palmer for television.”
UPDATE: Thinking about it further, maybe U.N.C.L.E. fans dodged a bullet thanks to Soderbergh’s departure in a disagreement with Warner Bros. over the film’s budget. Napoleon Solo, like James Bond, is a romantic hero, not an antihero.
Filed under: The Other Spies Tagged: | A movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.?, Billion Dollar Brain, Funeral in Berlin, Scott Z. Burns, Steven Soderbergh, The Ipcress File, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The Playlist