David O. Russell talks Uncharted film

Director of upcoming Nathan Drake silver screen adaptation says he will be "respectful as far as the core content and spirit of the game."

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Director David O. Russell's period boxing film The Fighter is up for seven Oscars at this weekend's annual award show, but the man is also answering questions about his upcoming game-to-film endeavor.

In an interview with Slashfilm, Russell answered questions pertaining to his video game playing habits, how he wants to "respect" the Uncharted games with the film, and the stigma attached to many films based on games.

Might the upcoming Uncharted film be a hit?

"My son plays most of the games in our house, and I will play them with him, but I'm not hardcore. I’m not going to present myself as hardcore. But I played the game a bunch of times and I also read as much as I could about the game," Russell said. "I started to brew together what I thought could be a really cool idea that I’d never seen in a film before…really intense action and really intense family dynamics on a global stage."

"To grow a game into a movie is an interesting proposition because a game is a very different experience than a movie. You guys are playing the game, and it's about playing the game. It's not about a narrative embracing you emotionally," he said. "So, I want to create a world that is worthy of a really great film that people want to watch and rewatch, so that's what I'm working on right now."

As far as the narrative of the film is concerned, Russell did not offer specifics but did note that his story will ring true with the video games. That said, he also mentioned how the film is his and his alone, and fans should let him do his work.

"I'm very respectful as far as the core content and spirit of the game, but beyond that, it's my job as a filmmaker to make what I think is going to be an amazing movie," he said. "People have to trust that and let that go, I think. There's not a bunch of movies you can point to that are made from games that are amazing movies…that stand up to time as a franchise or as [individual films]."

In early May, Russell was among a list of potential directors for the film, and in August, it was reported that negotiations between Russell and Columbia Pictures fell through. However, now all bets seem to be back on.

Unfortunately, further specifics on the upcoming film, like a potential release date or cast members, have not been officially announced. However, Russell has indicated his interest in having Wahlberg play Nathan Drake, either Scarlett Johansson or Amy Adams play love interest Elena, with Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci part of the cast as Drake's father and uncle, respectively.

The next entry in the Uncharted series--Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception--is due out on November 1, 2011. For more on that title, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Discussion

136 comments
ShadowDragoon05
ShadowDragoon05

"To grow a game into a movie is an interesting proposition because a game is a very different experience than a movie. You guys are playing the game, and it's about playing the game. It's not about a narrative embracing you emotionally," -David O. Russell This man knows nothing of games.

littlephill1985
littlephill1985

When i heard they were gonna do a uncharted film i thought they might do it justice, like silent hill. The only good video game movie out there. Untill i saw a video of the director being asked questions by a hardcore fan.This fan suggested Nathan Fillion to David O'Russell and he said he had never heard of him and he didnt even seem to want to hear what the fan had said, And anybody who has seen Nathan Fillion act will know that he is Nathan Drake.He has the charm, the wit, everything. I wouldnt be surprised if Naughty Dog based Drake on Fillion. Anyway untill the director listens to someone who has actually played the series i aint hoping for much from this film.Such a shame

dsgfbvdgshvbd
dsgfbvdgshvbd

@12534554 ur right but since this is an exploring and adventure type game the movie might really be a hit but they should change the star

12534554
12534554

Looks like we may FINALLY get a good video game movie...... Ah, who the hell am I fooling anyway? We ALL know there will never be a good video game-based movie so hollywood should just give up

Zerabp
Zerabp

Good News on this front he may be doing another movie first and Sony Pictures wants this fast tracked which means it could go to someone else and considering even Ewe Bowle would do more justice then this creep, there is no down side...

CarlitosWay
CarlitosWay

Honestly, you guys are forgetting one of the biggest problems with Wahlberg as Drake... Or Wahlberg in ANY VG movie for that matter. He did an interview a long time ago, about doing Max Payne. He himself admitted to never having any interest in video games whatso ever. Even when they introduced the idea to him for MP, he said hell naw. That is until HE WATCHED his secretary play the game infront of him. Dont get me wrong, I think Marky can do great in a lot of roles. He has great wit and punchline humor, but you cannot cast a person for this type of movie if they have NO INTEREST in its origin.

biagio55
biagio55

OJdaLIONKing: i think people are more annoyed about what hes said regarding the emtional investment. i agree with them becuase he doessnt seem to think that games can convey emotion to the player hense a bad movie is inevitable becuase the 'few' changes you think will be their will ruin the essence of the game and i believe this will effectivley kill off the frnachise or at least put people off it. also just becuase many oscars are won or nomiated for doesnt mean the film is good. black swan is up for a few and that is an appauling film. same for the kings speech. its not very engaging up the point that its really boring.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

Family dynamics? I swear this guy probably thinks Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the best Indy movie.

janrabbit
janrabbit

'There's not a bunch of movies you can point to that are made from games that are amazing movies...that stand up to time as a franchise or as [individual films]' erm.......... resident evil? im not sayin all the resident evil movies are amazing but i would say they have been a pretty successful franchise. i lost all interest in this movie when i heard Mark Wahlberg was gunna play drake, everybody knows Nathan Fillon is THE perfect actor for this roll

delylah
delylah

Wahlberg doesn't bother me so much. I think he and Amy Adams could pull off Nathan and Elena. What bothers me is this guy's attitude about the game itself, that he doesn't seem to think it has anything to do with narrative embracing you emotionally. I don't believe he's bothered to play it. Sounds like the last time he bothered playing a video game was during Pac-Man's heyday. Perhaps he should forget Uncharted and sign on for the next National Treasure movie instead. At least that franchise already has the family background he seems so interested in delving into.

CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

Nathan Fillion looks and can probably act the part of Drake better than most. Mark Wahlberg is hit or miss. I like him alot in some movie and others, he just doesn't fit the role. Didn't like him in Max Payne too much. Or maybe I just didn't like the Max Payne movie all too much regardless who played the role. @maayou...Dane Cook would be great to do the part...in a spoof movie.

maayou
maayou

Dane Cook could do the part...

cleo26
cleo26

The character of Nathan Drake is engaging as was stated, in fact the humor of the character makes him a likable guy. I haven't seen a film where Mark Wahlberg has any really sense of humor to be able to play the character of Nathan Drake. No way can he play Nathan Drake!

battlefrontphil
battlefrontphil

What the...?!?? The reason Uncharted is awesome is becuase Nathan Drake *is* an engaging character. The fact that this fool thinks Uncharted and other video games can't or don't have engaging characters/stories means this film will almost definitely *not* be true to the game. This movie is going to stink. It's a shame. I liked the Prince of Persia movie...

Zippedychick
Zippedychick

I absolutely adore David O Russell for all of his work. But I am severely dissapointed about everything I have heard about his adaptation of his movie. Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro and Mark Whalberg, seriously?

djimenez0628
djimenez0628

If you want to be faithful then cast Nathan Fillion jerk!!!

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@CassadyH Yeah man good point. The Max Payne movie was random as hell - I think that strayed from its roots a bit too much. Well until it's released I'll reserve my judgement, it just annoys me when people right something off before it's even been done.

CassadyH
CassadyH

@warhawk-geeby i respect what your saying there and i actually hope this is a really good movie. The problem is when he says "You guys are playing the game, and it's about playing the game. It's not about a narrative embracing you emotionally," My point is if he feels that way why should he even want to make a movie with these characters. And hes already talking about adding a father and uncle character.... It all could make for a good movie but if its not uncharted then why not just make your own Indiana jones rip-off?

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

I honestly don't see why there's so much hate towards this film. I know the majority of games don't make great films, but I have every faith in this guy. I saw the fighter just over a week ago at the cinema and it was absolutely brilliant, Mark Wahlberg's a good actor given the correct role. I think the vast majority of you guys need to just open your views a little. Fillon was good for the game yeah, but it doesn't HAVE to be Fillon for the movie, Drake's a character. Bash it all you like when it's released, but until it's actually been made there's little point knocking something that doesn't exist.

Zeller--
Zeller--

I'll give it time, there's no confirmation of actors yet, just actors the director hopes to obtain for the movie. So Fillon isn't out of it yet.

solidsnake10123
solidsnake10123

@1337_ME oh hell no drake is a merciless career thief who kills more foreigners then malaria

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

don't like that he seems to suggest that games don't have emotional narratives especially when looking at narrative heavy games like the uncharted series. I am putting some trust in him though, he is a good director after all. I'm uneasy as Wahlberg being his first choice, some times good sometimes not so good acting from him. I'll still see it though, good to see Sony is funding the project, they don't want to see someone else screw up a cash cow product of theirs.

73X
73X

Also, Nathan Fillion would have been better as Drake, in my opinion.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

I refuse to watch this movie with this piece of **** directing it.

AceBalls
AceBalls

I also wonder what he means by his implementation of family dynamics.. Is it Brendan Fraser Mummy family dynamics or will it be a one dimensional Shea Labumjack and Harrison Ford Crystal Skull dynamic? Either way, this could be a little lame..

1337_ME
1337_ME

What makes uncharted so successful as a game is its character Nathan Drake. He is a true every-man, hes likeable and hes pretty cool. By removing that amd making it a family of treasure hunters is going WAY off course. Its good he has a concept of how not to submit to the external pressures, but hes ruining the franchise.

DrJoeystein
DrJoeystein

At least the movie will be kind of like the game. :P Hopefully it'll at least be like Prince of Persia. A decent plot and story with awesome action.

AceBalls
AceBalls

Have faith all. A movie will never be like its game, but that doesn't mean this will be worse than Lara Croft or Doom. As long as this will be better than the Scorpion King or IJ Crystal Skull, then I'll be happy. As for it being better than IJ Raiders, I doubt it ;p Also, this is David O'Russell. Not Michael Idiot Bay or Uwe Fkn Rtrd Boll.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

All the crazy changes they are making is one thing, but not casting Nathan Fillion killed this for me. I'll pass, with ease.

SquareEnixFan13
SquareEnixFan13

@quikdash6 - You took the words from my mouth friend. I got quite ticked off after reading that sentence. If he's going to be adapting a game to a movie he needs to know all about the Uncharted series (from playing the games mainly), and he doesn't seem too, nor does he seem to understand how emotional games can be.

CattailCat
CattailCat

It's not about a narrative embracing you emotionally... That's a huge jab at the writers who worked on Uncharted, as well as the many other people who have worked on games which have stories that equal and exceed many of the films made today. What an a-hole...

benz1980i
benz1980i

I trust the guy to do his own thing and it'll turn out okay. Its not like thay have a no name making the movie. Sounds like a sweet cast of big names. Bring it on.

kangaox
kangaox

I keep sayin it! Uncharted will only work as a CGI film, with Nolan North still playin Drake... coz he IS Drake!

quikdash6
quikdash6

"It's not about a narrative embracing you emotionally". Would someone please smack the crap out of these directors? Apparently he's never seen a cut scene in a game. Maybe if these directors had played more than a level of a game. Play the whole way through and then see how you feel about the character and what happens to them. This is why every video game movie turns out like crap. All of these directors have the same attitude and end up with the same pile of crap. Let Naughty Dog at least assist in writing the script and let this guy direct.

sulaymanqazi
sulaymanqazi

if this guy made a movie that won 7 oscars... i can trust him.

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

From all the hostile comments here, I think it's clear as long as gamer mentality is what it is, there will never be a "good" film adaptation. Here you have a guy with a movie nominated for 7 oscars who's actually played the game and recognizes the difference between formats, and all people can say is how horrible it will automatically be because something will change. Movies and games are not the same, and any adaptation will have to change something. If you don't properly adapt it for the medium you end up with watchmen. If you recognize the difference you end up with LoTR or a pretty damned good movie in Prince of Persia. He hasn't even started making it yet, so don't be so prejudiced against something you haven't seen even a little bit of.

mariomaker26
mariomaker26

"I'm very respectful as far as the core content and spirit of the game, but beyond that, it's my job as a filmmaker to make what I think is going to be an amazing movie," he said. "People have to trust that and let that go, I think. There's not a bunch of movies you can point to that are made from games that are amazing movies...that stand up to time as a franchise or as [individual films]." You mean Super Mario Brothers? That movie was horrible.

PcGamingRig
PcGamingRig

this might be good enough to win a razzie, you never know.... :P

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

what i dont get is why not get the guys at naughty dog to direct it? sure theyve had no experince directing a film but i bet they could do a dam sight better then all the proper directors have in past attempts

Ex-DarkBlade
Ex-DarkBlade

"To grow a game into a movie is an interesting proposition..." - O'Russell What?! Didn't he say he played the games with his son? Uncharted games are both movies and games. He should play the games before making the movie.

Zerabp
Zerabp

Please Sony Fire O-Russel and let Naughty Dog collaborate with whoever is willing to take this adaptation seriously and stay true to the source material. One of the posters on screenrant got it dead on by saying he's afraid to stay true to the source material because of the failure of previous game based films, yet this is the very reason those films have failed.

SoNin360
SoNin360

Might as well give this movie a chance, but I don't expect a whole lot out of it. Having Mark play as Drake doesn't sound very good, I havnt really seen much humor out of him, but I guess I also havnt seen all his movies...

Cobra5
Cobra5

Its gonna suck. Just like every game movie director before him, he thinks he's hot **** and making the game into a movie is nothing and he's got it covered, and people will see and love his vision, no matter how many people tell him otherwise. And just like every game movie before this one: Its gonna suck, because they half-ass it and blow off the subject matter as trivial. Then he'll blame the video game audience for being un-pleasable and video games for being un-adaptable, and then the world will keep on spinning... The games won't be affected. Every franchise that gets a crappy movie tie-in keeps on going if it was a strong franchise beforehand. Just look at how many times this thing has happened, you'll already know how it turns out.

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

@Shrimpen91 No ... no he's not. Now Nathan Fillion on the other hand ...

Hillsy_
Hillsy_

@CassadyH - funny :) All I'm really bothered about is the third game. They can do what they want with the movie.