A number of directors have come and gone from Sony Pictures' slow-moving film adaptation of the Uncharted video game franchise by this point, ranging from David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, Joy) to Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief). The live-action movie version of globe-trotter Nathan Drake's adventures is currently scheduled to reach theaters in June of 2017, but without a director currently onboard it appears safe to assume that the project's release date will end up being pushed back again sometime in the foreseeable future.
However, what the Uncharted movie does have is another screenwriter - one who will put together a fresh script draft for the film, at that. The person in question would be Joe Carnahan, the writer/director of such cult movies as Smokin' Aces and Stretch, as well as more mainstream fare such as The A-Team and The Grey.
Carnahan informed Variety that he's not currently up to direct Uncharted, saying "I’m only on board to write the script." The reason being, Carnahan is actively gearing up to start rolling camera on Bad Boys 3 (with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reprising their roles from the previous Bad Boys films) and Sony's current production timeline for Uncharted conflicts with the studio's schedule for the new Bad Boys movie.
However, Carnahan also told Variety that he's more than happy to only write the Uncharted movie, saying:
“Archaeology today is in itself an antiquity, but that world has always fascinated me. Especially when you go to a museum today and wonder how a piece got there to begin with. Plus, the property itself is so popular that it was hard to turn down an opportunity to work on it.”
The choice of Carnahan as screenwriter for Uncharted reads as a promising development for many of the same reasons that his involvement with Bad Boys 3 bodes well. Namely, Carnahan has a knack for not only scripting sharp and witty dialogue, but also for combining quality character development with kinetic action and, in turn, action-driven narratives. Uncharted protagonist Nathan Drake is a character with a "big" personality and could easily come off as an Indiana Jones-knockoff in a live-action film adaptation of the original game franchise if not handled right. Fortunately, Carnahan scripts are never lacking for "personality," especially his screenplays of the action genre variety.
Question is, will Carnahan climbing onboard as screenwriter give Uncharted the kick in the pants that it needs to finally climb out of early development limbo and head into production at last? Sony once had plans to release an Uncharted film during this summer movie season, in close proximity with the release of the latest installment in the original game series, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Obviously, that didn't happen, as the project has proven to be a tough but to crack thus far, as further evidenced by the number of directors (not to mention writers) it's gone through at this stage.
However, with Carnahan now writing the script and other long-developing video game movies (see the Tomb Raider reboot) actively moving forward, maybe - just maybe - Nathan Drake's time to make the jump to the big screen has finally come.
Uncharted is currently scheduled to reach U.S. theaters on June 30th, 2017. We'll let you know if (when?) that changes.