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With all of the hubbub that was made over director Steven Soderbergh’s possible retirement, there were a lot of questions about which of his planned projects would actually get made and which would fall to the wayside. A director known for his incredible productivity, Soderbergh has both Contagion and Haywire coming out in the next few months, but has been working on Magic Mike, a movie based on Channing Tatum’s own erotic dancing experience prior to becoming an actor; and Liberace, a biopic about the famous piano player with Matt Damon and Michael Douglas. Today, however, I had the chance to speak with Scott Z. Burns, the writer of the upcoming Contagion and asked for an update on yet another Soderbergh project: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Based on the television series that ran from 1964 to 1968, Soderbergh and Burns signed on to the project last November. The show was about two top agents from the United Network Command for Law Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.) who fought against the evil organization called THRUSH. As the last two weeks have been filled with casting announcements for Soderbergh's Magic Mike, I asked the writer what the status of the project is and when it might go into production. Saying that “The script is done and [they’ll] start casting soon,” Burns is hopeful that they’ll be able to start production in the spring.
I then asked if the story will be based on any of the episodes from the show's four season run or the movies that were previously made, to which Burns said that some elements will be familiar, but it will be set more in a real world context. "I think if people know the show they’ll recognize tiny little things," Burns said. "All those shows are called, like, “The Terbuf Affair” or whatever. Our affair comes from something that was actually going on in the world at the time."
Given how tumultuous the Cold War period was it's hard to guess just what they might have in mind. Could it be about The Bay of Pigs? The Cuban Missile Crisis? Operation Mongoose? The Berlin Crisis? There are any number of events that Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin could become embroiled in. With Contagion set to be released on September 9th, look out for my full exclusive interview with writer Scott Z. Burns soon.