George Clooney Leaves Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’

George Clooney would probably make for one kick-ass uncle, but sadly, he will no longer be the man from “U.N.C.L.E.”

The Oscar winning actor has long been attached to Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of the 1960s spy drama, but Deadline reports that Clooney is now walking away from the project. It’s unclear exactly why he’s stepping aside, especially given the frequency with which Clooney and Soderbergh have teamed up in the past, but regardless of the reasons, Soderbergh is now left looking for a new “U.N.C.L.E.” … or is he?

Chalk it up to serendipitous timing or just another rehash of an old story, but Soderbergh is once again tooting the retirement horn. Speaking with The New York Times (via The Hollywood Reporter), Soderbergh repeated his desire to retire from film directing to pursue work in other forms of art, including painting.

“I’m interested in exploring another art form while I have the time and ability to do so,” he told the Times. “I’ll be the first person to say if I can’t be any good at it and run out of money I’ll be back making another ’Ocean’s’ movie.”

Even if retirement is in the cards, Soderbergh still has a long way to go before shutting down the cameras: his action flick “Haywire” is just around the corner, he’s in pre-production on the stripper drama “Magic Mike” based on Channing Tatum’s life, he still has the Matt Damon and Michael Douglas-starring “Liberace” biopic to make and, of course, there’s “U.N.C.L.E.” … but without Clooney, is it possible that Soderbergh will tap out early, or will he find another leading man to celebrate his last hoorah as a director with?

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