David O. Russell Compares ‘Uncharted’ Movie to ‘The Sopranos’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 28th, 2013 at 6:42 am,

David O. Russell talks Uncharted movie David O. Russell Compares Uncharted Movie to The Sopranos

Earlier this month, there was speculation that eclectic filmmaker David O. Russell might helm a big-screen adaptation of the comic book 2 Guns before tackling the long-gestating Uncharted movie. Despite laying claim to a resume that’s filled with unique and entertaining films (including the Oscar-nominated The Fighter), Russell has always been a controversial choice among fans of the Uncharted video game series.

Though the director’s past work gives little indication that he’s capable of handling a mainstream action epic, his films are so wildly different from one another that there’s nothing to indicate he couldn’t either make a great action film as well. However, Russell got off on the wrong foot with gamers almost immediately by casting Mark Wahlberg as Nathan Drake.

It’s no secret that most Uncharted fans had always hoped Nathan Fillion (Castle) would land the lead role and truth be told, I completely understand their apprehension with Wahlberg. While it felt way too early to write the film off entirely,  Russell dug himself into a deeper hole a few weeks later when he revealed his desire to cast Robert DeNiro as Nathan’s father and Joe Pesci as his uncle. His emphasis on their family dynamic seemed at odds with the core concept of Uncharted.

Not long after, one of the developers of the Uncharted: Drake’s Deception video game claimed that everything we’d heard about Russell’s approach to the material was mostly false. If that statement came as a relief to you – I’m afraid we’ve got some bad news today…

Russell recently spoke with IGN and, although there’s no mention of 2 Guns, it’s clear that he’s still very interested in Uncharted – and the family drama angle:

“I think if we take that family dynamic that we have in The Fighter, and put that in terms of a grander stage, with a crime family that metes out justice in the world of art and antiquities. If you’re the head of a museum, or head of state, you’ve got to deal with them, and they’re badass. They’re like the Sopranos in some ways, but they have great taste, and they have a sense of justice. I would love to do that with Mark [Wahlberg], Robert De Niro, and a couple of hot women, it could be very thrilling.”

Mark Wahlberg says he will star in Uncharted David O. Russell Compares Uncharted Movie to The Sopranos

That’s incredibly similar to what was first reported regarding Russell’s intentions for the film, so at this point it seems clear that, like it or not, this is the direction that the Uncharted movie is headed in. Russell also mentions that while he respects the video game series and its fans, changes to the source material are essentially par for the course when dealing with a movie adaptation:

“I don’t think that you can please everybody, but I will tell you this – I won’t make it unless I can make a great movie. I don’t think there are too many games you can play through that make you go – “Well that’ll make a great movie.” There’s not a lot of references on it, so I don’t think there’s a blueprint that says you must directly translate the game to the screen … I want the gamers to be happy. I have total respect for the game. My kid loves playing it, I love playing it. I just want to create a world that takes it to another level, that’s another amazing world that’s more cinematic.”

I’ve been a huge admirer of Russell’s work for some time now and initially I thought such an unlikely match of director and material might make for something more exciting than a typical video game movie. Now I’m to the point where I’m wondering how much time Russell’s actually spent playing these games.

uncharted still David O. Russell Compares Uncharted Movie to The Sopranos

Quite honestly, this feels a bit like a lose-lose scenario. From the very beginning, one problem with an Uncharted movie has always been that the games are already undeniably cinematic and a strict adaptation of Uncharted might ultimately feel derivative of other movies (particularly the ones the series clearly draws inspiration from).

So it’s easy to understand Russell’s desire to bring something new to the table, but then you’re left with a legion of fans wondering why they even bothered calling the movie Uncharted in the first place. I’m sure you could find a happy medium between those two extremes, but right now it sounds like Russell’s movie could be missing some of the fundamental aspects that have made this series so popular. Then again, if Uncharted is being developed as a major tentpole release, the primary focus is no doubt on appealing to a wide general audience. Alienating hardcore gamers might not be a terribly important concern for the studio or the filmmakers.

I’ve enjoyed all of Russell’s movies to date and I really want Uncharted to work – but it’s becoming obvious that there are going to be some glaring differences between the movie and the games.

Source: IGN

TAGS: Uncharted
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  1. this guy must be lying. probably just trying to piss ppl off.

  2. Yes, because Uncharted was all about the Soprano-like family dynamic of Drake…jeez this guy is starting to piss me off.

    This is what I got from this quote:
    His “kids” love the game. I’m not buying into him being a gamer and playing Uncharted. He also says he wants to “please the gamers”, making it sound like a completely separate group of people. He has no respect for the gamers, he has his own little view of the franchise BASED on what he saw on TV while his kids are playing it. This guy, with his infamous ego, is going to make a movie that he wants to make, not what everyone wants to see.

    It baffles me how muffled the voices of hundreds if not thousands of fans get when money and big stars are in the picture.

    What a joke.

  3. family? When In Uncharted are there family moments? He clearly has and probably will not ever play the games, and like He did with Max Payne, Im pretty sure Wahlberg wont either..

    ” I don’t think there are too many games you can play through that make you go – “Well that’ll make a great movie.”

    Are you joking me? Metal Gear,Assassins Creed,Gears of War,Dead Space and especially Uncharted would make great movies, if IF they ever stick to the source material…..

  4. At this point he’s just using the name to sell the film. Definition of a sell out.

  5. It’s too late for us fans, let’s just hope his career burns for his arrogance and ignorance.

  6. Russel is a scum bag for this move. Family dynamic?!? What he f*** is he thinking. Stick to Sully and Elana and throw in some new antagonists, I don’t want some BS involving DeNiro and Pesci. If he played the game he would know that Drake is his own man, no family, although the relation to Sir Drake started the first Uncharted. If anything, keep that relation, screw DeNiro, and choose a new hidden treasure with possible supernatural benefits.

  7. Why bother making a movie based on a game that was based on the best bit of great movies. We dont need to go round in circles. Enjoy the game and leave it at that. Same with a Metal Gear movie. That game was great because it was like a movie. So why make a movie based on games that are like movies. That how you end up with crap like Max Pain.
    Marky Mark should stay away from this as he only makes it worse.

  8. Bad Idea


  10. I better not see any of you sitting in the theater when it comes out

  11. This ISN’T Uncharted. Just rename the damn thing.

  12. I used to have some respect for this guy since he has made good movies in the past, but he is basically spitting in the face of all the Uncharted fans out there. I seriously hope this movies is a bust and it hurts his career. It would be an interesting movie if it didn’t have the Uncharted name or if it wasn’t a “grittier” version of national treasure….

  13. I’m sorry but is he mentally challenged? There is something seriously wrong with him. Just re name the project it’s no longer in any way based on the game this is an insult to the great game franchise and prevents the chance for a good film to ever be made. I have lost all respect for him at this point despite his previous film (some of which not all were good). As a person though he’s a real douche it seems.

    • Agreed, if he is going to completelt change it, then why bother to make it at all? With all these stupid changes it wont be Uncharted anymore.
      And his quote about not being able to please everyone, he should at least be trying to please the bloody fans!
      Total douche.

      • Rofl he says he can’t please everyone so his solution is to please absolutely no one lol especially the people who would actually care about Uncharted lol.

        By far the worst part of this is that it ruins any chance for fans to see a true adaptation because he will run the name through the mud. This is why Video game films always suck. No one even tries to stay true.

        • They always miss the point dont they? They think that video game films must be changed from the original source, not realising that it was the game people love, and thats what they’d like to see on the big screen.

          I’m dreading what mess will be made of Mass Effect.

          • Drsam oh you mind reader you I actually planned to bring up Mass Effect in my response to you until you mentioned it. Yea i’m very afraid of what Mass Effect (arguably the greatest Video Game story ever) will become. I’m also afraid for Heavy Rain which also had a fantastic story. Not to mention God of War as well which will probably turn out more like Clash of the Titans.

            • Heavy rain was more of an interactive movie than a videogame anyway. But Mass Effect shouldnt be ruined, I will be very angry if it is, cannot wait for the 3rd installment later this year.

              I always thought Assassin’s Creed would make a good movie. But they would find someway of ruining that too.

              • I love Heavy Rain and it’s already planned and on the movie fast track so they still can and probably will ruin it. The story was great.

                I’m excited for ME3 as well I just hope they go back to the RPG roots that made the first game so great because ME2 became more of a shooter than an RPG.

                AC could be a good movie, but really difficult to do with all the time switching and hard to hold the interest of viewers as a franchise with the character switching. I almost didn’t get AC2 simply because Altair was no longer the character.AC2 was a better game in nearly every way, but I never got pulled in to it as much as AC1 simply because I never liked Enzio he just was nothing in comparison to Altair. If they were gonna do it they would really have to cut out alot of the future scenes and should only show Desmond maybe twice the cutting back and forth was slightly annoying in the game and would be more so in a film.

                • Brotherhood is easily the best of the 3 games, it fixes every small problem, makes a truly brilliant gamning experience. Roll on part 3.

                  • I preferred AC2 over Brotherhood though Brotherhood was a good game. AC2 just had a better story and felt more like a complete game. Brotherhood was caught some where between full fledged game and extensive add on plus very little story and the one it had wasn’t good mostly felt like a rehash of AC2.

                    • Brotherhood was more to fill out Desmond’s story I think, but gameplay wise it was the best of the 3, the next game should be interesting. Rumoured to be partly set in Japan, it finishes off Ezio’s storyline at the beginning and then you play as Desmond, with all abilitities.

  14. Why doesn’t he just make his own movie. Change the names, change the title, say it’s an original movie. That’s clearly what O Russell wants to do.

  15. i hope this is not true… i have no troubles with a director taking some creative license… but i am SOOOO OVER mafia families and hit men.. its soooo gay… in a bad way… (im gay) if i have to see one more movie out there, hear me john statham, about ruff and tuff, cool and sexy hitmen… i will personally hunt all involved down like dogs..

    its soo boring and over..

    uncharted is a GREAT GREAT game.. get rid of marky mark and the good guy crap


  16. i meant “good fellas” crap

  17. WOW! This guy has got to be kidding!

    I keep waiting the moment he’ll come out an say it’s all a big joke just to get all Uncharted fans angry! :S

  18. I’m a huge fan of the Uncharted games and their material, but let’s take a step back and remember the fact that David O. Russell happens to be an excellent director. Heck, if you check out his profile on rottentomatoes.com you’ll see that he hasn’t directed a “rotten” movie yet. You’ll also notice that not a single video game-based film has even cracked the 50% mark. Here’s a chance for that to change. It may not be everything we want it to be, but it’s likely to be a very good film which is exactly what video game films need to be taken seriously and given the care we all think they deserve.

    • Sorry but Rotten Tomatoes doesnt mean jack.

      It might very well end up being “a very good film” but it will be a very good film that has boss all to do with Uncharted, so then why bother? Why doesnt he just make an action adventure film and let somebody else make an Uncharted film.
      Fan’s want to see the games up on the big screen, not a bizarro version of them. It should be the fan’s they make these films for.

    • Ok so lets make a movie about hmm i dont know the simpsons, but lets have it star Bert and Ernie, and then we will replace Marge with florence henderson and have her be this big corperate bi wig and Bart who is now Ernie will be this honor roll student , who stumbles on to the source code for deciphering the cosmic cube. but we will call it the simpsons oh yeah but the families name is actually mcdougal.
      lol see our point

    • Droberts your missing the point. It doesn’t do anything good for Video game movies if the movie doesn’t resemble the film in any way what so ever. Even if the film turns out to be great (which doesn’t sound likely)it’s still not uncharted. He still ruined the chance for a good film that’s actually based on the game. It doesn’t do video games a servie to name an orginal film that has nothing in common with the game other character names after a game.

  19. hes describing what the 4th indiana jones movie should have been

  20. Another great video game shot to pieces. I understand liberties will and need to be taken but sheesh… Just rename the film, don’t ruin the Uncharted game series with that monstrosity of a movie. I’d take almost any other actor over Mark Wahlberg for the lead character. I shudder at the future when the studio’s touch Mass Effect. I’m thankful though that Hideo Kojima is clutching the Metal Gear franchise with a vise grip of death.

  21. Heard great things about the game but don’t the games to movies adaptations usually end up bad?

  22. and if the reception of the movie turns out, (and probably will be), negative, it will most definetly have an effect on the games………its the same reason Kojima refuses to make a MGS film…


  24. If Russell’s never played the game, he should throw on the emergency brake immediately.

    My biggest issue with video game adaptations is that they view the vague intellectual property as sufficient in itself, rather than anything particular about the gaming experience. I’ve never played ‘Uncharted’, but from what I understand, it deserves a highly suspenseful, gritty approach with a protagonist who’s on his own for most of the running time. Introducing an awkward family dynamic is exactly the wrong decision. Drama can grow from almost any scenario, but you have to respect the scenario absolutely, and do not dilute it in the name of adaptation.

  25. So…Russell says he respects fans of the game, then basically goes and pisses on everything they hold dear. Nice. Good job alienating the built-in audience that would support this movie. I think I’ll just wait for Uncharted 3 instead.

    Oh, and Fillion would be a far, far better choice than Wahlberg.

  26. That’s so stupid. if you think doing an honest retelling of the uncharted game as a movie will alienate general audiences then dont do an adaptation of the movie then!

    It’s being made into a movie cause not only was the game great but the story was very cool and the characters were awesome and had great chemistry. Introduce that story to audiences otherwise dont rape the title of the game to tell your own story!

  27. That is so dumb. Why even call it Uncharted? It just angers me because I really like this games. I was fine with Mark Wahlberg as Drake but changing the whole premise of the film is dumb.

  28. What frustrates me the most about his comments is that he mentions something to the effect of “I respect the game and the gamers”. If that were true, he would not be changing every last bit of the story. This has to be the most arrogant director in all of Hollywood.

    Hey Russell…here’s an idea for you. Why don’t you get movie licensing rights to Dead Space and make it a PG 3d Comedy by Pixar about kids learning about artistic composition on a canvas. Changing the source material is “par for the course” after all, isn’t it?

  29. Uncharted? Russell sounds exactly like Shyamalan working on Airbender. With Marky Mark thrown in, it feels like Max Payne 2 in the making V_V