Any actor would be lucky to fill a lead role void left behind by George Clooney in a big-budget Steven Soderbergh project, and it’s Hangover-star Bradley Cooper that has now snapped up the chance to do so. Supposedly the actor was hungry for the chance as he was using his relationship with WB to position himself while the production went through the almost obligatory-sounding steps of courting Matt Damon and Johnny Depp. Production is planned for March as Cooper has a packed schedule filled with two features between now and then, including the blockbuster bible tale Paradise Lost for Alex Proyas. He’s also wedged in the middle of what is said to be a nasty rift between Mark Wahlberg and David O. Russell, as he’s replacing the former in the latter’s adaptation of The Silver Linings Playbook.
Soderbergh is not without a packed-to-capacity schedule himself, as quickly following up on the late summer’s Contagion he’s got Haywire complete and ready to go. At this point he has likely wrapped filming on his male stripper movie, Magic Mike, and already has a deal in place with Warner Brothers to distribute that, while his long-gestating Liberace biopic recently found a home at HBO.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is set to be the director’s next project, directly preceding the Michael Douglas / Matt Damon-starring Liberace flick. The adaptation will likely be a big action take on the classic spy story of collaborating multi-national agents, focused on partners Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. The original show was partly developed with Ian Fleming, and featured scores from Jerry Goldsmith and Lalo Schifrin (who composed the Mission: Impossible theme).
In any event, it seems like Cooper is a real worker, which bodes well for his rise to the true blue A-list. His new romance with Jennifer Lopez that’s gotten the tabloids all wet… not so much.