You know what sucks? You’ve written your film, you’ve got your director, you’ve set up the entire supporting cast, you’re all prepared to start shooting and … your leading man decides to take a powder. That is exactly what happened to Warner Brothers today, with Tom Cruise bailing big time on Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
And why did Tommy-boy decide to peace-out on the role of Napoleon Solo? Because he’s going to be too busy in another update of a popular 60s TV show, playing Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible 5. As we all know, Cruise likes to be uber-involved in his Mission: Impossible roles, because those films would be lost without his highly necessary artistic input. So The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is just no longer an important film for him to do.
Can I say good riddance? I was uncertain about Cruise playing yet another action superspy – how would it not have turned into just another Mission: Impossible? He also does not have quite the same slightly smarmy vibe that Robert Vaughn brought to Napoleon Solo in the original TV show. Cruise has a tendency to try and control every aspect of his stunt work and performance, which might tie up a director like Ritchie. In fact, I think this might actually be a boon for the film.
As far as we know, Armie Hammer is still committed to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. as Solo’s right-hand man Illya Kuryakin. Alicia Vikander was also slotted in for the role of an unnamed female agent.
Hopefully The Man From U.N.C.L.E. can recover from the loss of Tom Cruise and get someone equally cool to play the lead role, because I’d love to see a good big screen adaptation. I’m thinking Clive Owen. Thoughts?