Steven Soderbergh leaves “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

Steven Soderbergh leaves “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (photo)

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As he’s repeatedly reminded us, Steven Soderbergh is inching closer and closer to the end of his career as a director. We’d been told that he planned to retire after four more movies: the action-thriller “Haywire” (opening January 20), a Channing Tatum male stripper movie called “Magic Mike,” the big-screen adaptation of the cult television series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” and a biopic about Liberace with Michael Douglas. Now it looks like one of those four movies isn’t even going to happen.

The Playlist reports that Soderbergh has decided not to direct “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” after he and the studio, Warner Brothers, “could not come to an agreement over casting and budgets”:

“With the studio already hemming and hawing over casting options, this week they delivered a low $60 million dollar budget proposal for what is supposed to be the first in a tentpole franchise threequel. Soderbergh felt the figure wasn’t enough for a ’60s set period spy film that’s set on four continents, and with a March date looming, he could no longer wait for the studio to refine numbers or set cast, officially pulling out of the project.”

The first problem for “U.N.C.L.E.” came months ago, when Soderbergh’s original star, George Clooney, was forced to leave the film due to an injury. According to The Playlist, Soderbergh and Warner Brothers were never able to settle on a suitable replacement. The director liked Michael Fassbender or Joel Kinnaman (star of AMC’s “The Killing”), then Johnny Depp flirted with the project, then more names were floated included Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. But apparently no one was really happy, and now audiences aren’t going to be happy either, because they’re not going to get to see Soderbergh’s “Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

I was really curious to see what Soderbergh was going to do with this material. Earlier this fall, he told Film Comment that he’d applied the lessons he learned editing “Contagion” to writing the “U.N.C.L.E.” screenplay with Scott Z. Burns. Working on pacing and “collapsing” action, as the director put it, they’d pared down the script to a scant 98 pages. It sounds like it would have been an unusually lean and economical blockbuster; of course, unusual is kind of par for the course when it comes to Soderbergh.

Sadly, it’s not going to happen. Now the biggest question is: will Soderbergh stick with his original plan of those four movies and then early retirement, or will he sneak another movie or two in to take the place of “U.N.C.L.E.”? The Playlist says nothing has been settled yet but notes that the filmmaker began “looking at potential scripts” once he realized “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” was falling apart. As a devout Soderberghologist, I sincerely hope he finds one he likes.

Were you looking forward to Soderbergh’s “Man From U.N.C.L.E.?” Tell us on the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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