11 Long Years: The Painful Story of Making the Uncharted Film Adaptation (Topic)

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11 Long Years: The Painful Story of Making the Uncharted Film Adaptation


Not so long ago, Tom Holland, who will play Nathan Drake in the film adaptation of the legendary Uncharted series, said that the adaptation will avoid all the classic mistakes of films in games. Surely we cannot talk about this before the release of the picture, but at least the Uncharted film had 11 years to step on the rake of the game adaptations. We decided to recall what this long and painful history of the film adaptation of Uncharted is, which in 11 years managed to change six directors, and also just started filming.

Drake Family

The first news of the Uncharted adaptation appeared in June 2009. The Hollywood Reporter reported that the project is in the hands of Spider-Man producer Avi Arad. At this point, the script for the film was written by Kyle Ward, who also wrote for other video game adaptations like Kane & Lynch and Hitman 2.

The first signs that the film is doing badly appeared back in November, when Ward left the project. Sony wanted to quickly shoot the picture, but Ward wrote several scripts at that time, which slowed down the plans of the franchise owner. Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer were hired to replace him. These two may be familiar to you from the 2011 reboot of Conan the Barbarian.


For the next six months there was no news about the project, until in 2010 it was reported that Sony was negotiating with the director of The Three Kings, David O. Russell, to take the place of the director of the project.

Sony was worried that Donnelly and Oppenheimer were working on two projects in parallel when they were planning to make the film by the summer of 2011. However, even for those times, it was too ambitious to be true. As a result, negotiations between Russell and Sony ended in nothing, and the exit in 2011 became impossible.

In October 2010, Columbia Pictures presidents Doug Belgrade and Matt Tolmach officially announced that Russell would still be directing an Uncharted movie starring Avi Arad, Charles Roven and Alex Gartner.

The interpreter said that David is an excellent choice to direct this film. He is equally adept at combining character development, strong comedy, and amazing action films. So far, he has been a man with a perfect vision for material that would bring an original, unique style to adaptation.

Just days after Russell was named director, actor Nathan Fillion tried to offer himself the role of Nathan Drake. Many agreed that he was an excellent candidate, however David O. Russell disagreed as he did not know anything about the actor.


After that, rumors began to circulate more and more that Mark Wahlberg was in talks to star in the role of Nathan Drake, and he was approved for this role. Even more surprising was the news that Wahlberg's colleagues in the movie Casino Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro were invited to play in this film. It made more sense when Russell revealed that the film would be about the Drake family.

However, Russell was soon signed to work on My Boyfriend is Crazy, and that the project would take precedence over Uncharted, which Russell was still rewriting at the time. More bad news followed in January, when The Hollywood Reporter reported that Russell was also considering an adaptation of the 2 Guns comics.

It got even more difficult when Uncharted 3 CEO Justin Richmond revealed conflicting facts about Russell's ideas and that the film will not focus on the Drake family.

Everything is good / bad

Subsequently, the news about the project turned into a roller coaster, where the excellent followed the bad and vice versa. This continued for a very long time. By February 2011, casting rumors shifted to the question of who might play Elena Fischer. In an interview with Empire, Russell said that he was considering the role of Amy Adams or Scarlett Johansson. A few weeks later, Wahlberg said that Johansson was indeed considering the role, as well as Eva Mendes. In addition, Sony is aiming for a PG-13 film rating.


Russell left the project in May 2011. The director and studio were unable to agree on a plot. Russell confirmed the theory of creative discord in the future. Russell's departure also raised serious doubts about whether Wahlberg, Sands, and De Niro would remain with the project.

Sony quickly found a replacement for Russell. Director Neil Burger stepped on board in July 2011. He was determined to start from scratch, and hadn't even read Russell's early script. He stated that Uncharted is the most cinematic franchise in the franchise and requires special attention to bring the best to the screen.

Work went on quietly until in August 2012 the news broke that Burger had also left the project. The fault was the interference of third parties in the writing of the script.

The Uncharted movie has entered another long period of quiet. Later in 2013, information emerged from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg who said that Naughty Dog approached them several times about working on the film adaptation of their game. They refused, as they thought that they would not shoot an original movie, but a new Indiana Jones.

Further it became known that the director of "Dreadful Bosses" Seth Gordon was in negotiations to take the director's chair, and a new draft of the script is being written by the author of "Bad Boys 3" David Guggenheim.

In July 2014, Gordon noted his desire to start filming in early 2015, despite the absence of a lead actor. He said he would honor the original and focus on the very first game.


Uncharted will begin filming in early 2015, while Sony has set a release date of June 1, 2016. Sony also revealed that they are still considering Mark Wahlberg for the role of Nathan, dispelling rumors that Chris Pratt, best known for his role as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, will fill the role.

But again everything went to hell. Seth Gordon ditched the director's chair, and Sony began looking for a new direction for Uncharted. After that, within Sony itself, conflicts began over the budget for the film and they wanted to increase or decrease it. Nathan Drake's voice actor Nolan North suggested that the film is generally difficult to make, as the level of cinematography requires an overwhelming budget.

Around the same time, Sony pushed the movie release date from June 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

At the time, it all came down to Neill Druckmenn, the writer of the fourth installment, who, along with Naughty Dog, suggested new options for the picture, trying to convince Sony to shift the focus to Nathan's relationship with Sally and Elena.

In the summer of 2016, Joe Carnahan was hired to work, but he complained that his busy schedule would prevent him from making a good film. Unfortunately, by September Sony had decided to drop Uncharted from its release schedule as it became clear that June 2017 was no longer feasible.

Stranger Things director Sean Levy was the last to direct the film in October 2016. Levy tried to steer the film back on track by returning to the original concept of the treasure hunter story, and also decided to attract new stars.

A new stage of life

The film made an important step forward in May 2017 when it became known that the new Spider-Man Tom Holland had been cast as Nathan Drake. The casting announcement came with the news that the film will focus on the story of young Drake and serve as a prequel to the games. Sony Pictures CEO Tom Rothman was reportedly so impressed by Holland's work that he wanted to build a new franchise around the actor.


In 2018 Nathan Fillion decided to trick the public and released a short film on Uncharted in 15 minutes. It was a fan film directed by Gridlock Allan Ungar.

Alas, when it seemed that everything had calmed down, Levy left the project for the film "Free Guy" about the life of an NPC starring Ryan Reynolds.

Now Ruben Fleischer is engaged in the project and its plot revolves around the acquaintance of young Nathan with Sally and their first adventure. Uncharted movie due out in 2021 and who knows, it might finally be-

The Topic of Article: 11 Long Years: The Painful Story of Making the Uncharted Film Adaptation.
Author: Jake Pinkman