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Steven Soderbergh is in early talks to take over directing duties on the long-in-development film The Man From U.N.C.L.E. at Warner Bros. Scott Z. Burns, who wrote Soderbergh’s The Informant and the director’s upcoming medical thriller Contagion, is negotiating to come aboard as writer.
Warners has been working on a big-screen adaptation of the U.N.C.L.E. TV series since the 1990s, most recently with Max Borenstein rewriting a script by David Wilson as a directing vehicle for David Dobkin.
The Wilson-Borenstein script was considered strong by Warners, but Dobkin is now moving to the role of producer, along with John Davis, and Burns will write a new script.
U.N.C.L.E. aired on NBC from 1964-68, during a Cold War period that saw numerous spy shows hit the airwaves. James Bond author Ian Fleming was even a creator of the show, which focused on the adventures of American and Russian members of a secret agency called the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.
Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus) was expected to aim for the action-comedy wheelhouse for U.N.C.L.E. But with Soderbergh’s varied resume, from the light touches of Erin Brockovich and the Ocean’s Eleven movies to the more emotionally complex films like Traffic and Solaris, there’s no telling which way the project will go.
Soderbergh, repped by Anonymous Content, has Haywire, his first foray into action territory, with Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor and Michael Douglas, in the can for Relativity and is shooting Contagion, a thriller with another all-star cast, this one featuring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Kate Winslett, among others. The director will aim to shoot U.N.C.L.E. at the end of next year.
Burns, repped by UTA and Anonymous, worked on The Bourne Ultimatum and wrote and directed the HBO movie PU-239.
Lynn Harris is overseeing U.N.C.L.E. for Warners.
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