For over a decade now, game developer Naughty Dog and Sony Pictures have been promising fans a big-screen adaptation of their hit video game Uncharted. And for over a decade fans have been waiting patiently for one of the best-selling game series of all time to finally get there. Now, the wait for the Uncharted movie is almost over.
THE TEAM IN CHARGE OF UNCHARTED RIGHT NOW
After all was said and done (eight different directors, many many writers) Sony has settled on Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland movies, Venom) to finally bring the Uncharted movie to life. The story has changed tone a few times but Joe Carnahan (Bad Boys For Life, Smokin’ Aces) penned the final version with Rafe Judkins adding to it. Carnahan even took to Instagram upon completion of his draft, boasting. “If there’s a more monstrously cool action script in Hollywood right now, I wanna read it, ‘cuz this thing is a BEAST.”
WHO’S IN THE UNCHARTED MOVIE
The names have changed as this movie has developed, but one name has stayed constant pretty much from jump. That is Mark Wahlberg. He has stayed attached to the Uncharted movie and is confirmed to star as things move forward with the production. Only this time he is not being considered for the role of Nathan Drake. No, this time he will be taking on the role of James “Sully” Sullivan, Drake’s mentor.
The choice role of Nathan Drake has been given to Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland. Sony is so enamored with Holland that the studio is bringing the young star in to help lead their second major franchise.
In a bit of very recent casting news, Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard) is set to join Wahlberg and Holland in an as of yet unnamed role.
Also announced are Sophia Ali (Grey’s Anatomy, Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare), and Tati Gabrielle (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina).
We heard Carnahan’s big talk about his Uncharted movie script, but will it actually be what he boasted about? With Holland aboard and Wahlberg taking on the Sully role, the movie now has become a prequel where Holland’s Drake first meets Sully.
Holland spoke about the Uncharted movie’s origin story script to IGN saying, “I read the newest draft of the script on the way over here and it’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. It really, really jumps off the page.”
His screen partner in crime, Wahlberg, seemed to echo Holland’s sentiments when he spoke with The Wrap. “I’m familiar with the games, but I think this is going to be a nice segue into Nathan becoming Nathan Drake, which I think it will be really cool for audiences. It’s by far tenfold better than all the other versions of the movie that they were going to make at one point or another, which is why I was willing to come back and jump into that part. Many different filmmakers and versions of the script and they just knocked it out of the park. When I read it, I was like, ‘oh wow.’”
Wahlberg didn’t stop there when praising the direction of the new script. “I felt like I was reading a movie and watching a movie, and it felt like Indiana Jones meets ‘Thomas Crown Affair’ meets a Bond movie,” Wahlberg said. “It was like, wow, I’ve made a lot of movies, but I’ve never felt like, this is a movie movie. I just got really excited about it, so I was committed to playing the part.”
Holland was also upfront that the Uncharted movie script leans heavily on the fourth game in the series, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which happened to be his personal favorite. This is also the only game that goes back in time to show how a young Nathan Drake first met Sully. “One of my favorite video games ever is the fourth Uncharted game. And lots of the inspiration from the film has come from that game in particular.”
With the many delays, there have obviously been a few release dates. If everything goes on schedule (fingers crossed), the Uncharted movie had been scheduled for a March 5, 2021 release. But the Coronavirus ended up delaying a ton of 2020 movies until 2021, which means that release date has now been cancelled.
Instead, the Uncharted movie is now slated to be released on October 8, 2021.
THE UNCHARTED MOVIE’S ROCKY ROAD
Ten years is a long time, even by Hollywood standards. But that is how long it has been since Sony and Naughty Dog first announced that they were adapting the Uncharted game into an Uncharted movie.
The video game series is one of the most popular games ever released on the PlayStation console. So how many names have been attached to the project since that initial announcement? Let’s count.
Spider-Man producer (1) Avi Arad was first with screenwriter (2) Kyle Ward tabbed to write the script. Ward dropped out to be replaced by (3) Thomas Dean Donnelly and (4) Joshua Oppenheimer. (5) David O. Russell was then brought on as director. Sony was thrilled with the Donnelly/Oppenheimer script and wanted to fast-track the movie for a summer 2011 release. Shortly after this announcement was another that even though Russell was on board, negotiations between the director and studio had broken down.
Things jumped more for the Uncharted movie as the studio announced once again that Russell was back on board as director. A few days after Russell was confirmed, actor (6) Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) began a Twitter campaign to star as the video games hero Nathan Drake. Fans were in a lather as they felt Fillion was a perfect choice for the role. Unfortunately, Russell wasn’t having any of it. In fact, Russell shot the campaign down by stating he wasn’t even aware who Fillion was.
From there rumors began to fly as to who would join the cast and snag the prime role as Drake. (7) Mark Wahlberg was the first name. More surprising though were the two other names being considered for roles: (8) Robert De Niro and (9) Joe Pesci. They were to be reunited but their roles were never confirmed. Rumor had it that De Niro was possibly going to play Sully while Pesci was going to play an uncle of Nathan Drake.
Fans were confused by this even as Russell told the LA Times through Indiewire his idea on the story of an extended Drake family. “This idea really turns me on that 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.” He also added. “We’ll have the family dynamic, which we’ve done in a couple of movies now. 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.”
That “really cool idea” did not pan out for Russell as he moved away from the Uncharted movie to take on other projects. Wahlberg, Di Nero, and Pesci remained attached, so the rumors turned to the leading ladies.
(10) Scarlett Johansson, (11) Amy Adams, and (12) Eva Mendes names were being kicked around. It was for naught though as again Russell and the studio couldn’t agree on the direction of the story. Director (13) Neil Burger (Limitless) came on board wanting to start from scratch. But Burger didn’t last, and new writers were also brought in.
More directors, more writers, more development hell. Our name count is already up to 13 but there were many, many more until the movie settled on the team it has now.