Even after Get Smart, Dark Shadows, Bewitched, etc., the prevailing attitude of “why take a risk on something new when we can adapt TV shows no one under 50 remembers” still appears to be going strong in Hollywood. Today’s news is that Tom Cruise is eyeing Guy Ritchie’s uncle. I mean, eyeing the lead in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., to be directed by Guy Ritchie. In other news, Firefox still doesn’t think “eyeing” is a real word, but tell that to the trades.
I’m hearing that Tom Cruise is in early talks to star in the film that will be directed by Sherlock Holmes helmer Guy Ritchie. The original TV series ran from 1964-68, with Robert Vaughan and David McCallum playing Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, two agents of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. [With some initial involvement from James Bond creator Ian Fleming -Ed.] With gadgets and their wits and charm, they fought the evil forces of Thrush. Warner Bros has long been high on the project, especially when the studio had Steven Soderbergh ready to direct George Clooney in the lead. The actor dropped out because he needed surgery on his neck and back, and he wasn’t up for a physical role. [Deadline]
So… a Cold War-ish version of Sherlock Holmes, basically? I’m not that familiar with Man from UNCLE, but especially with Guy Ritchie directing, you’d expect the modern version to have elements of wit and humor. Good luck with that, because Tom Cruise is no Robert Downey Jr. Cruise is good at “intense” and “driven” and especially “sociopath” (as in Magnolia and Collateral, his best roles), but he’s never been particularly witty or charming. Meanwhile, Robert Downey Jr. seems to spend his entire life perpetually in that peak of a cocaine high where everything you do is f*cking awesome because you’re the coolest guy in the world and everyone knows it. Sherlock Holmes was okay, but I hope Guy Ritchie goes back to making real movies soon, because I feel like I’ve already seen Man from UNCLE 17 times. At the very least, I hope they throw in a bulldog sidekick like they did in Sherlock. Secret Agent movies = played out. Dog Sidekicks = timeless.