Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros may have finally found its The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I’m hearing that Tom Cruise is in early talks to star in the film that will be directed by Sherlock Holmes helmer Guy Ritchie. The original TV series ran from 1964-68, with Robert Vaughan and David McCallum playing Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, two agents of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. With gadgets and their wits and charm, they fought the evil forces of Thrush. Warner Bros has long been high on the project, especially when the studio had Steven Soderbergh ready to direct George Clooney in the lead. The actor dropped out because he needed surgery on his neck and back, and he wasn’t up for a physical role. After Soderbergh departed, the studio turned the project over to Ritchie and his producing partner Lionel Wigram.

If this happens, it would give Cruise another shot at a franchise. He already has Mission: Impossible, which has another installment being developed by Christopher McQuarrie to direct, and I’m told that he will reprise the Jack Reacher role from Lee Child’s books, after the $60 million-budget Jack Reacher grossed more than $215 million worldwide for Paramount and Skydance. Warner Bros began quiet talks with Cruise after he completed All You Need Is Kill with director Doug Liman, which must have turned out pretty strong. Cruise next stars in the Joseph Kosinski-directed Oblivion for Universal Pictures, Cruise’s first futuristic sci-fi film since Minority Report. The film bows April 19. He’s repped by CAA.

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