Tom Cruise has finally come out...of the cast of a major motion picture in which he was set to star. According to a report by Deadline, Cruise has dropped out of the upcoming Guy Ritchie-directed film adaptation of classic TV series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. due to his desire to focus on the upcoming fifth entry of his signature franchise, Mission: Impossible. So, it seems that Cruise won't be cheating on MI with another spy franchise, after all.
Cruise was originally locked-in to this contemporary reboot of the 1960's spy series to star alongside up-and-coming leading man, Armie Hammer, who himself is currently set to share top billing with Johnny Depp in another TV adaptation reboot, The Lone Ranger on July 3. The original 1964-1968 series starred Robert Vaughn as American spy, "Napoleon Solo" and David McCallum as his Russian partner, "Illya Kuryakin," who work together for a super-secret espionage agency called U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.) Unlike S.H.I.E.L.D., they may not have the help of superhumans, but did display on television a poignant nonpartisan alliance for the forces of good during the heated days of the Cold War.
For director, Guy Ritchie, currently on a financial and critical roll with the Sherlock Holmes films, the setback comes after the project already experienced a few directorial and starring shuffles, which at one point had Steven Soderbergh at the helm and George Clooney to star. The acquisition of Tom Cruise would have ensured that he'd have one of the most bankable movie stars of all time set to kick-off this new venture. Now, he goes back to the drawing board in what will certainly be a frantic scramble to find a feasible replacement star. -- Of course, no timetable has been given for the project and it could very well be the case that the addition of Armie Hammer was a chemistry-casting and the exit of Cruise could also mean Hammer's exit, as well.
Cruise, on the other hand, has just completed All You Need is Kill, a futuristic military movie set for next summer. (Even though the title sounds like a demented Cirque du Soleil Beatles/Slayer hybrid show.) The star is also quickly moving forward with his already-confirmed return for Mission: Impossible 5, which is already enjoying the benefit of a screenplay from Drew Pearce, the writer of the white-hot Iron Man 3.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E., sans Tom Cruise, will try to find the right star and tell him "you complete me" when it hits theaters on a date to be determined.