Steven Soderbergh has pulled out of directing the increasingly convoluted production that The Man From UNCLE was becoming, reports The Playlist.

Initially George Clooney was cast in the lead role, but pulled out when he realised the physicality that the part required (he has an old back injury from shooting Syriana), and was seemingly replaced with Bradley Cooper - who then also pulled out. The studio apparently weren’t crazy about Soderbergh's top choices to then take over the role; Michael Fassbender and (the talented star of The Killing) Joel Kinnaman, but then went and hired them for two other films anyway. First of all, not hiring Fassbender for a role that requires him to be suave and action-orientated is just stupid - watch his star soar - and secondly why don't they just trust Soderbergh with the material and choices?

We'll next see a film from the talented Oscar winning helmer in January, as his experimental action flick Haywire is released - having already garnered great early reviews. I'd expect this project to either fall apart or have a journeyman director board it.