Tom Cruise, who made Paramount a mint by bringing TV’s espionage series “Mission: Impossible” to the big screen, may now be doing the same for Warner Bros.
According to Deadline, Cruise is in “early talks” to star in a big-screen version of “The Man From UNCLE,” with “Sherlock Holmes” director Guy Ritchie directing. Ritchie’s other credits include “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Snatch,” “Swept Away,” “Revolver and “RocknRolla.”
Years ago the UNCLE project came very close to being made with George Clooney starring for Steven Soderbergh, before Clooney's bout with back and neck therapy made it difficult for him to undertake an action role
Interesting facts about the 1964-68 spy series:
* The original title for the series was “Ian Fleming’s Solo.” The show began life as the brainchild of Fleming, riding the huge crest of James Bond’s popularity following the release of “Dr. No” in 1962.
* Fleming died 39 days before the show premiered on NBC.
* Fleming’s original concept focused on two agents named Napoleon Solo and April Dancer. Dancer wound up not being introduced until late into the second season, played by Mary Ann Mobley. The following September, Dancer, now played by Stefanie Powers, got her own spin-off, “The Girl From UNCLE.”
* Leo G. Carroll, who plays the head of UNCLE in “Man” and “Girl,” played the head of the top-secret spy organization in “North By Northwest.” His character, Waverly, is one of the many components of Alan Moore’s graphic novel espionage epic “The League of Extraordniary Gentlemen: Black Dossier.”
* The organization Fleming’s Solo worked for was not called UNCLE; that name was an invention of writer-producer Sam Rolfe (“Have Gun Will Travel”).
* The Russian UNCLE agent, Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum), was another Rolfe invention and originally a minor character, but grew to co-star status early in the series run.
* Citing compensation concerns, Rolfe left the series after its first season, widely recognized as its best and most popular.
* First-season episodes are easy to identify as they were the only ones shot in black and white.
* William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy both guest-starred in 1.9, “The Project Strigas Affair.”
* Two months before she was cast as Agent 99 in “Get Smart,” Barbara Feldon played an UNCLE agent in 1.25, “The Never-Never Affair.”
* Robert Towne wrote a first-season episode, “The Dove Affair,” the same year he wrote his only “Outer Limits” episode.
* Harlan Ellison wrote two 3rd-season episodes, “The Sort of Do-It-Yourself Dreadful Affair” and “The Pieces of Fate Affair.”
* The United Network Command for Law Enforcement’s evil counterpart was called WASP in the pilot but later became THRUSH – an acronym never explained in the series. (A series of UNCLE novels, however, posited that THRUSH stood for Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity.)
* In the 1983 reunion TV-movie, “The Return of the Man From UNCLE,” George Lazenby played an Aston Martin-driving British secret agent referred to only as “J.B.”
Find all of Deadline’s exclusive on the matter here.