The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a damn good TV show, and a perfect way to get your spy kicks in-between Bond films back in the old days (it ran from ’64-’68). Even in reruns – where most of us caught it – the show stands tall with some of the other Sixties spy fare that was being rolled out at the time (I’ll take it over I Spy and The Avengers any day). U.N.C.L.E. told the story of American Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Russian Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum), both spies and partners, as they tried to thwart the world-dominating plan of the evil organization THRUSH. It featured smart scripts (at least in the beginning), a brilliant opening theme from Jerry Goldsmith, and with the inclusion of a Russian character during the height of the Cold War, who not only was ever bit the equal of the main Solo character but also his friend, it could be considered groundbreaking in that aspect.
Now comes word that Steven Soderbergh is looking at resurrecting the property for his next directing gig, and he might be bringing his Informant collaborator, Scott Burns, with him as writer. Warner Bros. has been trying to get a film version made since the mid-90’s without success, but one of the more recent scripts by writer Max Borenstein found favor with the studio, based on his ability at marrying the action/comedy genre together with the version he turned in. But if negotiations go through with Soderbergh without any trouble, Burns will rewrite the script from scratch and likely aim for less comedy and more spy action.
However they go they’ll be following in the footsteps of some high-profile, almost legendary writers who once worked on the show, such as Ian Fleming (a co-creator) to Harlan Ellison to Robert Towne.
I say bring it on, a Soderbergh version could be a great thing.