If the casual moviegoer wasn't yet familiar with the writing (and directing) skills of comedy duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the runaway raunch-comedy This Is the End took care of that. With writing credits like Superbad and Pineapple Express already under their belts, the success of their apocalyptic comedy (and possible star-studded sequel) is just icing on the cake.
But even if stars are lining up to take part in their next project, it seems there's one troubled film that the pair aren't in a hurry to save. Whose offer have Rogen and Goldberg politely refused? Naughty Dog, developers of the Uncharted video game franchise, who have been after the pair to provide a script for some time.
Video games may play a role in several of Rogen's films (including This Is the End), but a connection between the adventure-loving hero Nathan Drake and the minds behind Superbad isn't an obvious one. Yet in an interview with IGN, Rogen and Goldberg confirmed that Naughty Dog has sought them out on more than one occasion, and offered a brief explanation of why they've never accepted the offer:
SR: They’re constantly asking me and Evan to make the Uncharted movie.
EG: For like four years now, they've been just like 'make an Uncharted movie for us.' But it's just gonna be Indiana Jones!
SR: Yeah, writing it. They've been asking us to write it for years.
EG: If we could figure out a way to make it not Indiana Jones, it’d be awesome.
The pair went on to explain that this was not publicly known, but they had no qualms about going on the record. Although the R-rated jokes and crude humor that have become the pair's trademark seems a poor fit for the Uncharted series, the writing skills the pair have exhibited shouldn't be overlooked. The sophomoric, cringe-inducing gags would have to be thrown out, but the core banter and relationships that elevated Superbad (among others) above mindless competitors would be right at home in a live-action Uncharted, a video game series that's never taken itself too seriously.
As successful as Rogen and Goldberg's writing and directing skills have proven, it's hard to disagree with their basic apprehension. While they could bring the banter and wit of Uncharted onto the big screen, every fan knows that the franchise is essentially a modern day Indiana Jones, in every conceivable way. Adapting the game back to film is almost too easy; too easy to attract any writer who knows the source material (as Goldberg and Rogen seem to), anyway.
The only reason to adapt the game, it seems, would be to take the franchise into a new territory - a strategy to which Goldberg alludes. But the Uncharted movie's development to date has shown that not every proposed change is a promising one.
When the film fell into the lap of director David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook), not only did his casting of Mark Wahlberg in the main role lead to fan outcry, but the proposed plot bore almost no resemblance to the original series. We doubt anything would convince skeptics that Russell's plan wasn't a recipe for disaster, but in the context of Goldberg's comments, it's easier to understand why the core formula might be changed.
Regardless, there doesn't seem to be any reason for fans to worry at the moment; the film has already passed through the hands of yet another writer/director, and doesn't seem to be gaining any momentum. Since it's unlikely for Rogen and Goldberg's issues to be resolved, the Uncharted film they would create will remain a mystery.
What do you think of the match? Would the writing duo be able to grasp what other major Hollywood screenwriters might miss? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
Check out Rogen and Goldberg's most recent film, This is The End, in theaters now (read our review). We'll keep you updated if anyone else manages to solve the Uncharted riddle.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.