It looks as if the film adaptation of the popular Playstation 3 game Uncharted: Drake's Fortune won't be making it to theaters in 2011 after all. Director David O. Russell has spent the last few weeks in negotiations with the studio and producers, but the Los Angeles Times is reporting that a deal could not be made and the search is on for a replacement.
Producers Avi Arad, Charles Roven, and Alex Gartner announced their plans for an Uncharted movie last summer. Several months later we learned that Sony had replaced screenwriter Kyle Ward with the team behind the upcoming Conan reboot - Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer. Back in May, a short list of candidates for the director's chair was drawn up - a list that included Russell.
The LA Times article indicates that before signing a new director, efforts may instead be focused on casting the film's two leads. Since Uncharted is being developed as a tent pole film with franchise potential, it's not surprising that it's producer-driven. Still, it's hard to imagine a director not wanting some input on such an important decision. Recent rumors indicate Samuel Brodie is in talks to take the lead role of Nathan Drake, but in light of these recent developments we probably won't be hearing anything concrete in the near future.
Russell has a reputation of being somewhat difficult to work with, especially when things aren't going exactly the way he wants them to. I can't help but wonder if his departure is partially related to potentially relinquishing more control than he's used to. Although he got his start with smaller independent films like Spanking the Monkey and Flirting With Disaster, even his bigger-budget films seem to stray far from mainstream sensibilities. He was always an odd choice, but that wildcard element seemed to indicate Uncharted had a strong chance of not being just another video game movie.
I'm a fan of both Uncharted games and they are frequently described as being very cinematic. In fact, there are a fair number of fans who feel that the games' cinematic nature makes a film adaptation somewhat unnecessary and I understand that point of view. However, I'm also guilty of playing through the games while constantly thinking: "This would make an awesome movie!"
I like Russell's other films and was curious to see what his approach to Uncharted would be. It was like hearing Michel Gondry was going to be directing The Green Hornet and feeling like that was so crazy it might actually work. I realize the jury's still out on The Green Hornet and there are many who probably feel that the Uncharted movie has just dodged a bullet by losing Russell.
Were you excited to see David O. Russell's take on Uncharted: Drake's Fortune or is there someone better suited for the job?
Source: Los Angeles Times.