Guy Ritchie‘s troubled big-screen reboot of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has had another setback with the news that Tom Cruise has bailed on the project. Multiple sources are reporting that Cruise left in order to devote more time to his own project, Mission Impossible 5.
Cruise had been cast to play opposite The Lone Ranger’s Armie Hammer as Napoleon Solo in the film that was due to start filming this fall. Warner Brothers are now in the position of rushing to find a suitable replacement for Cruise in time for the fall 2013 shooting date.
Guy Ritchie’s Man From U.N.C.L.E. reboot has been plagued with problems and setbacks. The first setback was when director Steven Soderbergh stepped down as the feature’s director and then actor George Clooney had to leave the project because of surgery. Theoretically Cruise could have worked on both projects, but unfortunately, Tom takes a lot of interest in his Mission Impossible films and he likes to be deeply involved from day one. His departure is a bit puzzling though as he still has an obligation to do another film for Warners.
Since Tom Cruise has bailed on Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. reboot, he must be concerned that the spy show from the 1960’s is missing something, perhaps something besides him. Most likely he is keen to work with the Mission Impossible 5 writer Drew Pearce and director Christopher McQuarrie in the run up to his film being shot.
Warner’s is still eager for Ritchie to direct the Man From U.N.C.L.E and Armie Hammer is still set to costar in the reboot. Warner Brothers just need to find a suitable, and bankable, replacement for Cruise.
The 1960’s television spy thriller originally starred Robert Vaughan and David McCallum as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin as the spys who worked for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. The two men relied on quick thinking, Bond-like spy gadgetry, marial arts, and bucket loads of charm to fight the bad guys from the evil organisation of THRUSH.
In the 1960’s the show was wildly popular and the series spawned licensed merchandise that included a Man from U.N.C.L.E. digest sized story magazine, board games, Gilbert action figures, Aurora plastic model kits, lunch boxes,toy weapons, and a series of books about the two spys.
So far actor Armie Hammer and Swedish actress Alicia Vikander are still in the wings waiting to find out who will replace Cruise as Solo. The character of Napoleon Solo was created by Ian Fleming as a small screen version of James Bond. As a spy, Solo possessed the charm, sophistication, efficiency, and a weakness for beautiful women just like his big screen alter ego, James Bond.
The main difference between the two characters, even though they were created by the same man, is that Solo was less intense and brutal than the English spy on the big screen. On the television show he possessed a laid-back ease that was missing on the big screen version of 007 at that time.
With Tom Cruise jumping the U.N.C.L.E. ship, Ritchie will be hoping that no one else bails from the Man From UN.C.L.E cast or else Armie Hammer will be playing his part, “Solo.”
By Michael Smith