It’s not an exaggeration to say that Uncharted fans have been looking forward to a movie adaptation of the blockbuster video game franchise for years. Heck, the rumors surrounding an Uncharted adaptation even predate our own movie archives; if you scroll all the way back, our first mention of the movie is five years ago, when David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg had already departed from the project. So when Sony finally decided to move forward with the project, fans were more than a little confused to hear that it was Tom Holland who would be playing Nathan Drake. Why go the prequel route when there’s so much established canon to explore?
Last week, Sony raised eyebrows when it announced that it was finally moving forward with its long-struggling Uncharted adaptation, albeit in a direction that no one saw coming. Despite the Uncharted series taking place with an older and more world-weary male protagonist, Sony cast Mr. Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, as a young version of Nathan Drake. The film would be based on a sequence in the third game which flashes back to Drake’s relationship with his older brother; while Uncharted purists may find this to be an odd choice, it does potentially set Uncharted up for decades of movies with an aging Holland as the lead.
With a glut of just-okay PG-13 video game movies out there, it’s up to Uncharted to stand out and break new ground for the tricky video game adaptation — uncharted territory, if you will. Screenwriter Joe Carnahan, who recently announced he’d also helm The Raid remake and the X-Force movie, completed the Uncharted script back in January, and has said that he wrote the screenplay with the express intention of attaining an R-rating.
Uncharted will attempt to break new ground in late 2017, early 2018 as the first not-bad film adaptation of a video game, but the road there is long and the production has only just embarked. They’ve got director Shawn Levy (esteemed cineaste behind such films as Date Night, The Internship, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb), but now Levy has to find himself a leading man for the role of box-jawed hero Nathan Drake. As is so frequently the case with fan-cherished entertainment in recent years, the hordes of devotees decided to take matters into their own hands and ply the director with plenty of suggestions for casting.
Sony’s Uncharted movie was in danger of becoming another one of those cautionary quixotic Hollywood legends of films that never got out of pre-production — a slew of directors joined the project, before smelling delays on the wind and moving on to more promising prospects, and a couple months ago the film’s release date was removed entirely, hinting that the whole thing was doomed. But today Sony announced that Shawn Levy was taking the director’s chair, and that Uncharted is now on the fast track.