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Following the withdrawal of George Clooney late last month from Steve Soderbergh’s adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Warner Bros. is targeting one of Hollywood’s rising young stars for its update of the 1960s spy-fi series.
Clooney presumably had been set to play the Robert Vaughn role, that of Napoleon Solo, an American operative for the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement). It’s unknown why the actor pulled out of the project, which would have reteamed with frequent collaborator Soderbergh.
According to The Wrap, the studio has a wish list of about 20 young actors, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling and Alexander Skarsgard, who could step into the shoes of Illya Kuryakin, the dashing Russian agent played by David McCallum in the NBC series.
Airing from 1964 to 1968, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. followed the exploits of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin who as agents of U.N.C.L.E. battled the menace known as T.H.R.U.S.H. (the acronym was never explained in the show, but later novels revealed the letters to stand for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity).
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was popular enough to spawn a spin-off series — the short-lived Girl From U.N.C.L.E., featuring the wonderfully named agent April Dancer — theatrical releases of extended television episodes, soundtrack albums, novels, magazines, comics, toys and a 1983 TV reunion.