We're trying to remember: Was "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." supposed to be Steven Soderbergh's last movie again? We know there was the dancing male stripper movie, and the Liberace movie, and then another tiny movie, and who knows, he probably has one more Spalding Grey documentary in him, right? Anyway, last we'd heard, Bradley Cooper was gonna play the lead role in Soderbergh's film, which seemed like an odd fit to us. We like Cooper, but there's something about him that seems an odd fit with Soderbergh, particularly with a film that Soderbergh seemed begging to cast George Clooney. Our sense was right: Soderbergh is now off the project.
Cost-cutting is the rage all over, and that appears to be what happened here, according to The Playlist, which first had the story.
With the studio already hemming and hawing over casting options, this week they delivered a low $60 million dollar budget proposal for what is supposed to be the first in a tentpole franchise threequel. Soderbergh felt the figure wasn't enough for a '60s set period spy film that's set on four continents, and with a March date looming, he could no longer wait for the studio to refine numbers or set cast, officially pulling out of the project.
The story also notes that Soderbergh was already frustrated that he couldn't replace Clooney with Michael Fassbender, who, while hot in the indie world, isn't The Sexiest Man Alive. (Yet, anyway.) The whole thing -- and you should read The Playlist's report, it's quite comprehensive -- sounds just exhausting, and it's no wonder that Soderbergh threw his hands up and said "forget it." Just to mess with people, he should have sent out a press release saying, "because of my frustrations with 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,' I am now going to retire from filmmaking. Well, not now. But soon. Just prepare for it! Thanks, Warner Bros.!"
By the way, we repeat: Who in the world remembers "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.?"