If all goes according to plan, the long-in-development Uncharted movie will finally begin filming early next year, according to director Seth Gordon. He also says the movie will not be a rehash of the stories told in the games.
"I think very early next year. That's the plan," Gordon told Zap2It when asked how soon filming would begin. He added, "That's like tomorrow, essentially, because the prep is so complicated for the movie."
Gordon, whose previous work as a film director includes Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief, is still without a lead actor. When David O. Russell was set to direct, Mark Wahlberg was lined up to assume the role of series protagonist Nathan Drake. With Wahlberg out of the picture, Gordon is still hoping to find someone like him.
"I want it to be a great actor," he said. "That's number one, and then if it's someone who has an actual jaw, that's even better. The game is so well done that you need it to live up to that. There's no way we'd do the inverse of that where it's somebody famous who can't [act]."
In the games, Nathan Drake is played by Nolan North, one of the most prolific video game voice actors today.
"I love the complexity and frankly the sophistication of the storytelling in the game, and we aspire to that." -- director Seth Gordon
In addition to the identity of any of its actors, the film's story also remains a mystery, but Gordon says it won't simply be a silver-screen version of the games' stories. "It's going to honor the mythology of the game, but I would say honor some of the most interesting stuff from the first one and build from there," he explained. "There's some stuff that isn't in the game."
"I love the complexity and frankly the sophistication of the storytelling in the game, and we aspire to that--but don't want to tell the exact same story, of course--so something that doesn't break the rules of what it did but expands," he added. "Because I feel like the people who play the games and know them well don't want to just see the same story told. You want extra shades."
Sony has been trying to put together an Uncharted movie for years--it was announced in 2009--only to have plans fall apart repeatedly. When Russell was set to direct, Wahlberg's name wasn't the only big name brought up for the movie: Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Amy Adams, and Scarlett Johansson were all under consideration. After Russell dropped out in 2011, Limitless director Neil Burger was attached to direct, but he, too, left the project in 2012.
Likewise, a multitude of writers have been brought on board during the project's life, including Kyle Ward (Agent 47); Marianne and Cormac Wibberley (National Treasure); and Thomas Dean Donnelly (Sahara, 2011's Conan the Barbarian). Uncharted developer Naughty Dog famously asked Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg of Superbad fame to write the movie, but was turned down. "It's just going to be Indiana Jones," Goldberg said last year. "If we could figure out a way to make it not Indiana Jones, it'd be awesome."
The next game in the Uncharted series, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, is currently in the works for PlayStation 4. Its development is being headed up by The Last of Us leads Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann.
How much of the story from the Uncharted games would you like to see kept intact for the movies? Let us know what approach you hope Gordon and company take in the comments below.