Watch out Indiana Jones, there's a new adventure hero coming! After many years in development hell, the Uncharted adaptation, based upon Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, has finally got a director. Shawn Levy, known for his Night At The Museum films as well as most recently directing Stranger Things, has been attached, with more reports coming in that production for the film is now being fast-tracked for a relatively quick turnaround.
Originally pegged for next summer, the release date has pushed back for another year, with the assumption that Shawn Levy will direct some episodes of Stranger Things season 2 between now and then. But what else do we know about the highly touted adaptation? Let's start with the plot, which is:
Based On The First Uncharted Game
Talks of a film adaptation have been in circulation ever since the first Playstation 3 game, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, was released in 2007. It stars the handsome rogue treasure hunter Nathan Drake, descendent of Sir Francis Drake, who upon hearing wind of an ancient gold statue known as El Dorado, has to follow the clues his ancestor left him in order to find it, all the while fighting off the attention of bad guy and fellow archeologist Gabriel Roman.
The game, and its sequels, was praised upon its release for its cinematic vistas and plot-lines and dialogue that could easily pass in an action-adventure film. It has everything you could want from this type of genre: a Bogartian hero, a love interest who is just as capable as the lead, and a vast ancient secret that needs to be uncovered. As such, translating the game to the big screen has seemingly proved difficult, leading the script through:
There has been a whole parade of different writers tasked with bringing the video game to the cinema, including Academy-Award winner Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty), David O'Russell (awesome), Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (behind absolute classic Sahara), David Guggenheim (Safe House), and the people behind National Treasure (should have stuck with those guys!).
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For some reason, they were all fired, then Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg turned down the job, and now Joe Carnahan, screenwriter of The Grey, Smokin' Aces and The A-Team, is the man tasked with getting something for Levy to shoot. Let's just hope that the endless amount of people being asked to write the script means that producers have a very clear vision of what they want, and not endlessly tinkering with it till it becomes indecipherable. No word on the lead actor yet, but:
Nathan Fillion Wants To Star
With the hype for this film going through the roof, its natural that many actors want to play the lead role. Serenity star (and Nathan Drake lookalike) Nathan Fillion has been especially vocal about his desire to play the explorer:
Given his uncanny resemblance, plus the fact that he has video game experience in voicing characters from Halo and Destiny, Fillion seems to be the fan favourite. Other likely candidates include Bradley Cooper (he can do anything), Chris Pratt (think a combination between Star Lord and Owen from Jurassic World), Mark Wahlberg or Aubrey Graham, just because Drake playing a guy called Drake would be kinda funny. For my money, I think he looks like Gerard Butler:
Check out our ideal cast-list here:
Why This Could Be The Best Video-Game Adaptation Yet
Despite what some ardent fans might think, video-game adaptations have a very small critical and commercial success rate. The average Metascore is 30, with the highest Metacritic rating —for Mortal Kombat — only reaching a measly 58. Additionally, Box Office returns are less than you'd think, with only two game adaptations — Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Angry Birds — grossing over $100 million domestically.
So, given that Uncharted has a ready-made blockbuster script in the game already, it may have the chance to clear this relatively low bar for blockbuster success. What it will have to do is correctly prioritise the character moments over the repetitive gameplay of jumping, shooting bad guys, and solving endless puzzles. Just maybe, by giving us a likeable character to root for, just like Indiana Jones, Uncharted has the chance of being not only a successful video-game adaptation, but a great film in its own right.