Steven Soderbergh—who is still, in fact, a very busy filmmaker, and not yet filling trendy L.A. art galleries with paintings of crying hobo clowns—is closing in on the lead for his big-screen update of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the ’60s spy series that suggested that all scientists secretly want to kill you with a giant laser. According to Variety, it’s Bradley Cooper who will likely assume the role of the caddish American spy Napoleon Solo, a part that was initially George Clooney’s before he bowed out due to his charming, charismatic, crippling back injuries. Soderbergh since offered it to Johnny Depp and Matt Damon and, having thus exhausted all of the traditional leading men in Hollywood, finally moved on to the scrappy second-tier occupied by Cooper. Cooper will now likely shoot the film after playing Lucifer in Paradise Lost—much as his spy character goes undercover, reaffixing the mask of humanity that hides the rictus of his obsidian soul. No word yet on who’s being looked at to play Solo’s Russian spy partner, Illya, but as in the original show, here’s betting it’s not an actual Russian guy.
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