Steven Soderbergh Exits THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

Soderbergh drops out of spy thriller.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has pulled out of directing a big screen adaptation of the 1960s spy TV series ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’

ThePlaylist reports that the ‘Contagion’ director and Warner Bros. were unable to come to an agreement over casting and budgets. Soderbergh had been developing the project since 2010 with screenwriter Scott Z. Burns. The filmmaker’s long time friend and regular collaborator George Clooney was initially lined up to star, but the actor passed on the project because the role was too stunt-intensive for him and the lingering back injury he sustained on ‘Syriana.’

With Clooney out, the studio was looking to launch a franchise and cast a younger actor. The studio was undecided on Soderbergh’s next top two choices – Michael Fassbender and Joel Kinnaman (‘The Killing’) – only to later hire the actors for ‘Londongrad’ and ‘Arthur & Lancelot,’ respectively. Back when Disney’s big screen outing of ‘The Lone Ranger’ hit budgetary problems Johnny Depp became interested in taking the role of Russian Illya Kuryakin in Soderbergh’s spy thriller but ‘The Lone Ranger’ was brought back from the dead, leaving Warner Bros. yet again on the hunt for actors.

Names like Bradley Cooper, Joel Edgerton, Ryan Gosling, Matt Damon and many more were presented as options, but ThePlaylist’s sources say that no official offers were ever made to actors and the news of such claims were agent moves to force the studios hand. Channing Tatum, who is currently working with Soderbergh on the male stripper drama ‘Magic Mike’ was the most recent actor linked to the project, “but with an indecisive studio and a budgeting issue in the air, this idea never even had time to congeal.”

So what’s next for Soderbergh? Well the filmmaker’s next release is the action thriller ‘Haywire,’ which arrives in Irish cinemas in January. His stripper film, ‘Magic Mike’ is set to hit cinemas in the summer of 2012. Around that same time he is set to go into production on his “last” film, the Liberace biopic ‘Behind the Candelabra’ with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. Of course, knowing Soderbergh and the speed at which he cranks out movies, you can be sure he’ll work in a film before he begins shooting the biopic.