Tom Cruise Drops Out of MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. to Focus on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5

     May 24, 2013


In a rather unexpected development, director Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of the popular TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has lost its leading man.  Tom Cruise was originally set to star in the Warner Bros. spy pic, which is being planned as a potential franchise-starter, but with a fall production start-date looming Cruise has now vacated the starring role in order to focus his efforts on getting Mission: Impossible 5 off the ground. The film had recently started filling out its cast with Armie Hammer signing on to co-star and Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina) entering talks to play the film’s female lead, but Ritchie must now start searching to fill his leading role .  Hit the jump for more on the future of both U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible 5.

man_from_uncle_tv_show_image_01Warner Bros.’ adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has had a rather troubled development process.  Steven Soderbergh was initially planning to direct with George Clooney being eyed for the lead role, but Clooney opted not to sign on for fear of exacerbating his back problems with the film’s action-heavy demands.  Actors like Bradley Cooper and Channing Tatum were subsequently eyed to topline the pic, but Soderbergh eventually left the project altogether when Warner Bros. refused to provide him with the budget necessary to fulfill his vision.

Ritchie signed on to produce and direct The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in December of 2011, and the project was finally on track to start production this year before Cruise’s abrupt exit.  Deadline reports that Cruise decided to leave U.N.C.L.E. in order to focus his efforts on producing and starring in Mission: Impossible 5, which he wants to get in front of cameras before the end of the year.  The M:I franchise is Cruise’s baby and he has always been heavily involved in the development, planning, and production of each film.  As such, it would be, well, implausible for him to prep for and shoot The Man from U.N.C.L.E. later this fall while also remaining hands-on in all things Mission: Impossible 5 before that film goes in front of cameras.

With Iron Man 3 screenwriter Drew Pearce recently tapped to pen the screenplay for Paramount’s Mission: Impossible 5 and Cruise’s Jack Reacher helmer Christopher McQuarrie expected to direct, it’s clear that things are moving full-speed ahead on the sequel.  Brad Bird’s fourth installment, Ghost Protocol, will be a tough act to follow, but clearly Cruise is focused on making M:I 5 the best film it can be, even if that means sacrificing prior commitments.

Warner Bros. will now focus on replacing Cruise quickly in order to keep Man from U.N.C.L.E. on track for a 2013 production start-date.  Hammer is still onboard to play a version of the role played by David McCallum in the TV series, and I’m interested to see who Ritchie ropes in as Cruise’s replacement.  Could one of his Sherlock Holmes cohorts like Robert Downey Jr. or Jude Law step in, or will it be another A-lister entirely? We should hear firm word sooner rather than later.


  • pwnednoob

    Smart move on Cruise’s part. He is doing too many similar roles. Glad he is focusing on MI5 and let someone else do UNCLE.

    • thewriteguy

      Yep. Too much brand similarity with the general public between MI and UNCLE, and now this includes Jack Reacher.

  • Jess

    Could be Michael Fassbender’s spy franchise……

  • Bo

    Look, there certainly could be an element of Tom Cruise back lash here. His last few films have not been blockbusters. Both Reacher and Oblivion did not even make a 100 mil in this country and less then 200 mil foreign. He’s in trouble with the audience due to his wierdness/Scientology trip. Studios know that. Now, Mission Impossible whatever may be a better bet, but I wouldn’t invest any money in it. Cruise knows too. If he makes another big hit MI movie he can make another couple of regular films. Maybe. Again, the biz knows all this. I’ve been in it and around it for a long time. The chickens have come home to roost for ole Tommy boy. About time. If people really, really knew how really wierd his whole trip is they wouldn’t get within a country mile of the guy!!

    • Chad

      The previous M:I film, released only 16 short months ago, grossed $700 mil worldwide. And Jack Reacher tripled it’s budget, making it a hit. A film doesn’t have to make “$200 mil foreign” to be considered a hit, if the budget is $60 mil. Nice try, but fail.

    • kid

      your a dumbass troll, reacher was a hit and is getting a sequel!

      • Bo

        Look, I know I’m dealing with morons here, but I’ll continue never the less. Dumbass troll…what are you, 10 yrs. old? Do me a favor, kid…hold your breath until the next Reacher film comes out. It ain’t gonna happen. All of you that believe what the press releases tell you are mental midgets. Studios DO NOT put 100 million dollars into films only to get back just a little. Take a look at Iron Man 3 (dogshit I know) or Star Trek and now Fast and Furious 6…this is what studios want…not the numbers Reacher gave them. Believe me. The press or PR will tell you it’s a hit, but it really isn’t…Reacher might, might make it’s money back but probably not. Wake up! There will not be another Reacher film.Trust me on this! And try not to make an ass out of yourself when you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about….look in the mirror if you want to call anyone a dumbass troll…and why would you want to do that in the first place? Ask yourself that.
        And Chad. Yes you’re right. The previous MI was a hit. That’s why Cruise ain’t gonna make anything else but another one as his last two, Reacher and Oblivion, did not come close to bringing in those kind of numbers and when studios do biz with Cruise that’s what they want. You have no idea what the budget of these films are so stop basing your opinions on that. Reacher and Oblivion are considered failures for Cruise ‘in town’ so to speak. It’ll be interesting to see what his next film ‘All you need is Kill’ does. It’s already in the can, but it’s another sci fi a la Oblivion and you can bet the studio behind it is very, very worried about Mr. Cruise’s ability to put em in the seats like they want. Warner’s is lucky Cruise is no longer involved and none of us, none, know the real reason he ain’t!! And dat be da truth!!!

      • JK

        Cruise 5′ 10″ Reacher 6’5″…..nuff said.

    • t2a

      what chickens!

    • Sean Chandler

      The scientology fiasco was 6 or 7 years ago. It certainly over-shadowed all of his films for a couple of years and knocked him from his heights, but IM4 proved the backlash is over.

      • Bo

        Again Sean…MI4 did not prove the back lash is over. Reacher and Oblivion proved otherwise. MI4 only proved the folks will come to see him in MI films. That is why he and Paramount are doing MI5. It more than likely will be another hit. Unless they really screw it up, but Cruise knows how to make these pics and gives the dunder head audience that comes to see them what they want. When it is a hit then studios might…might gamble with Cruise with other films. Hard to say. Most of you commenting on this site don’t seem to know what you’re talking about and seem more like fans rather than people actually in the film business who know all this that I’m talking about. It really is obvious to those in the know. Lesson…never…ever…believe press releases giving reasons and explanations for whatever. It’s all complete bullshit and lies. Cruise and Scientology really know how to do that!! Bullshit the masses into believing what you want them to believe. Not just him and them though. The whole film business…the government…huge corporations…like the studios…you only hear and see what they want you to hear and see. You’ll never know the real picture unless you are involved in putting out the false on. I know. Been there. Done that! Quit believing fairy tales…ha! lol…

      • Sean Chandler

        I noticed you didn’t respond to Chad. So I’ll quote him,

        “The previous M:I film, released only 16 short months ago, grossed $700 mil worldwide. And Jack Reacher tripled it’s budget, making it a hit. A film doesn’t have to make “$200 mil foreign” to be considered a hit, if the budget is $60 mil. Nice try, but fail.”

        And while Oblivion wasn’t the hit some were hoping, it’s global box office take is double it’s budget.

        He isn’t the box office draw he once was. That doesn’t mean scientology is still over-shadowing his career.

      • Bo

        Well Sean, I did respond to Chad directly. Read above a bit more carefully and you’ll see that I did. My response to your above reply is you sound like you may perhaps be a Scientologist yourself, eh? Not important. Good luck if you are, lol. Anyway, who knows why he isn’t the box office draw he once was. If you read a lot of comments about him on the internet from regular folks it seems his meltdown Scientology rant a few years ago seriously affected his popularity. Still, he will make MI films forever and they will show up.
        Again, you get confused thinking you know what the budget to these films are. They tell you what they want you to think they are. And even on top of that there are marketing costs, which are enormous here and internationally. They don’t tell you that! Oblivion is not a hit and it’s likely not to make the studio a penny. Look, in the end this guy has been on the top of the heap for 30 yrs. so he knows how to do that. I for the life of me have never gotten that, but that’s what makes the world go around I reckon. Like someone posted above…Cruise 5’10” (which ain’t true…it’s more 5’6″ maybe 5’7″ at most…Reacher 6’5″ enough said….good point!!!

      • Sean Chandler

        I am not a Scientologist. About once every 6 months I get a good laugh re-watching Tom Cruises interview with Matt Lauer.

        I’m not calling Oblivion a hit. I’m saying it didn’t bomb. Beyond it starring Tom Cruise, there wasn’t much going for it. It’s not based on a established property. The director isn’t well known, and it opened before the summer really kicked off.

      • Bo

        Got me chuckling, Sean. Glad to hear you’re not a Scientologist! And I agree with that whole Matt Lauer interview. Cruise went back to the classroom ‘they’ provide for mis-steps like that and he’s pulled way, way back on that sort of behavior since then. But it’s still the way he really is, don’t doubt that for a moment.
        Okay, I’ll agree with you re: Oblivion. It for sure isn’t a hit, but not being a bomb? I don’t know. I isn’t going to make 100 mil in this country and is struggling to make 200 mil over seas. Not good numbers. I still doubt the studios will get their money back on this one what with whatever budget they had, plus all the other costs; especially marketing here and world wide. Lot of dough spent, not enough coming back. I mean, it’s disappeared and no one is talking about it. Except in the back rooms of all the studio offices in town. Ha! Look, the guy is too wierd for me and always has been. No skin of my rear what he does or how well it’s accepted. Strange days indeed!! He’ll be around to do MI 20, you can believe that.
        Once again, glad to hear you don’t reside along side L. Ron Hubbard, Sean….lol!!!!

      • Sean Chandler

        Haha. Yes I find Ron Hubbard just as nutty as you.

        I guess my definition of BOMB is when a film loses the studio a good portion of money. Oblivion didn’t make any money but it doesn’t look like a big money loser. So it’s a big disappointment but not a bomb by my estimations.

        I’ve always liked Tom Cruise, but he’s a clearly a weirdo in his personal life.

        So we can agree Tom Cruise is a weirdo and his weirdness definitely messed up his career and pulled him from his heights.

      • Bo

        Yea, in the end we can agree on that about his wierdness. It took the public long enough. But really, if he hits again on MI5, which the chances are good that he will, then it all starts up again.
        I’ll refrain from commenting on your stating that you have always liked Tom Cruise….out of respect…lol…it’s funny…around town they call him ‘the little king’…he is really little…I saw him once with Kidman…it looked like a kid with his mother! Ha! But that shouldn’t be held against him. A really good friend of mine, who won an screenwriting Oscar, is like only 5′ 7″ I guess. I never even notice really. He’s a great guy. Still, Cruise playing Reacher who’s 6’5″ and the whole thing in the Reacher books is centered around his physical presence and how that affects both him and the people he comes into contact with. Strange ego wanting to ignore that. But then again, Reacher didn’t reach (sorry) the audience it wanted to, much to my delight I must say. I really like all the Reacher books by Lee Child. Great, great character. Have yet to submitt myself to the movie…lol….later Sean!

  • mth

    Tom Hardy would be interesting or Leo D proved he can do the spy cop thing in departed and the action in inception

  • Still a fan

    It turns out for the new M:I the hero is not the hero, he’s actually the villain! Oh wait… they did that in the first one… um… they could get an actor named Trevor to play a puppet villain that distracts from the real villain. Oh… they did that already in Iron Man 3? And the Dark Knight Rises? No way, they did it in The A-Team too!?! Damn…

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  • Raptor Jesus

    Yes, this is very good news. Tom needs to step away from the ‘action hero’ roles and started doing more character actor parts (think Robert Duvall). He is, as they say, ‘too old for this sh*t’.

  • melanarus

    Christian Bale would be good to replace Cruise in this movie

  • spongefist

    Tom Cruise should just step away from everything (in height increasing elevator shoes (look them up)). I think I heard that his stunt double was an 11 year old girl and all the extras on every movie he is in are midgets.

    And who gives a crap about the man from Uncle, it is very bad, on par with his acting.

    And (I like starting sentences with and) before you jump to his defense, this was a purely objective, critical review, accepted as fact by any one with an IQ higher than a goldfish and with an understanding of the arts greater than Bieber.

    • ace1

      3 oscar noms bitch

    • Bo

      Excellent…very funny. Very smart. Obviously see things as they are and not fooled by all the nonsense! Again…excellent. And irony too! Thanks for making my day on this site.

  • ruth

    Get David McCallum from NCIS to play a part, nothing like having an original cast member on board!

  • JK

    Cumberbatch, Hardy or Bradley Cooper…

  • lobtaylor

    I love Tom Cruise and going to the movies to watch another one of his hits is for me one of life’s great pleasures!!!! did I mention I couldn’t be bothered to go the theatre that many times…but I go when Tom’s on.

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