Steven Soderbergh Abandons Warner Bros.' <i>Man from U.N.C.L.E.</i>

After a long, difficult search for a lead that's moved from George Clooney to Bradley Cooper to now, apparently, Channing Tatum -- it was exactly a year ago that Clooney's offer surfaced -- Warner Bros.' planned adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has now lost its director.

Playlist reports that disagreements with the studio over casting and the proposed $60 million budget have taken their toll, forcing Steven Soderbergh to walk away from the big-screen version of the popular 1960s spy-fi series.

Citing "insiders," the website contends Warner Bros. was relieved when Clooney backed out of the project, as executives wanted a younger star to launch what's planned as an action franchise. Soderbergh then reportedly presented his two top choices, Michael Fassbender and The Killing's Joel Kinnaman, only to have the studio cast them in two other movies (Londongrad and Arthur & Lancelot, respectively) months later.

Warner Bros. had planned to begin production in March, but now must decide whether to search for another director or abandon the movie.

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