Following quickly after the announcement that Academy Award nominated director David O. Russell was leaving the upcoming video game-turned big screen film adaption, Uncharted, undisclosed sources have confirmed a pair of key news items that many fans are no-doubt eager to hear.
Recent reports suggest that Russell’s exit was, in fact, due to creative differences – stemming from a major conflict of opinion regarding how true the film should be to the celebrated Uncharted source material. As a result, it sounds as though Sony isn’t just passing on Russell, they’re also sending his script and would-be star packing as well.
According to a follow-up report from the LA Times, it seems Sony was just as skeptical about Russell’s bizarre take on the game as fans. If you’ve forgotten about Russell’s “family dynamic” focused Uncharted script, it went like this:
“… There’s a family that’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of international art and antiquities … [a family] that deals with heads of state and heads of museums and metes out justice… We’ll have the family dynamic… And then you take that and put it on the bigger, more muscular stage of an international action picture, but also put all the character stuff in it. That’s a really cool idea to me.”
Instead of Russell’s family-heavy version, which many fans claimed would be an Uncharted movie in name only, it sounds as if Sony wants the film to follow significantly closer to the two (and soon to be three) video game story lines – and will bring on new writers to revisit an earlier draft of the script from Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (Conan The Barbarian).
As a result, Sony is also very likely to cut ties with Russell’s star Mark Wahlberg – whose casting was poorly received from the moment it was announced. Anyone who can be objective will admit that Wahlberg is a talented actor; however, many gamers (and movie fans) haven’t been able to forget his performance in the video-game turned (terrible) film adaptation Max Payne.
No doubt Nathan Fillion fans are already scrambling to get Wahlberg replaced with the Castle star – for the role of adventurer Nathan Drake. Unfortunately for them, Fillion (who has appealed to Twitter in the past to help get his name in the running for Drake) has been surprisingly quiet the last twenty-four hours. Maybe he’s already preparing for the role – getting in extra practice at his local climbing wall.
Obviously, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors that Sony wasn’t as sold on Wahlberg (or Russell’s “family dynamic”) as the director and star had led us to believe – which raises the question: how long had the Uncharted debate been raging between the studio and the director? Was Sony ever really on-board with the Wahlberg/family combo or was Russell pressing forward with his own agenda – hoping that the fan community and studio would come around?
At first glance, Russell’s exit does seem like a victory for Uncharted fans – who made it very clear that, despite his accomplishments, the director wasn’t the right man for the job. Certainly, Russell’s dedication to the family dynamic idea seemed to indicate that, despite comments to the contrary, he’d spent very little time playing the game – or attempting to understand what so many gamers enjoy about it.
That said, fans need to be open-minded about the next director, whoever it is – since it’s going to be that person’s job to make the best possible movie. Admittedly, Russell may have taken adaptation too far but the next man (or woman) for the job will still be faced with the same challenge: balancing a great movie experience with the video game’s somewhat limited (albeit terrific) source material – without the end-product coming-off as an Indiana Jones rip-off.
“I think we’re in the space now of building properties that are appealing to people, and there’s a version of BioShock that makes a great game and there’s probably a version of BioShock that makes a great movie.”
It’s important for fans to remember that film is a different medium than games – and shouldn’t merely superimpose the gameplay experience onto the big screen. So, let’s not hope for a filmmaker who can simply translate our favorite moments in the game onto the silver screen – let’s hope for a director that can show us the “version of [Uncharted] that makes a great movie.”
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick and let us know who you’d like to see direct the Uncharted film now – and who should play Nathan Drake?
The Uncharted film does not have a release date but, in the mean time, be sure to check out our sister site, Game Rant, for information on the next game in the series, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, as well as other noteworthy video game news items.
Source: LA Times