Deadline reports that Cruise is in preliminary talks with the studio to join the long-gestating project. The cult series ran from 1964 to 1968 and starred Robert Vaughn as Napolean Solo, the role that Cruise would assume. The action-heavy series featured Solo and his partner, Illya Kuryakin, fighting an evil agency known as Thrush.
That action was part of the reason Clooney dropped out of the role -- he suffered a back injury in 2011 and wasn't up to the film's demands. Original director Steven Soderberg searched for a replacement, considering Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, and Michael Fassbender for the part, but no deals were signed and the project stalled over a disagreement about the budget. Soderberg eventually abandoned the film, and Warner Bros. brought in director Guy Ritchie late last year to revive it.
Saying "U.N.C.L.E." could prove to be a lucrative move for Cruise, whose action franchise roles are starting to pile up. He's set to star in yet another installment of the "Mission: Impossible" series (also based on a '60s TV show), and will also shoot a sequel to last year's "Jack Reacher."
Check out Deadline's coverage for more details.