Uncharted Movie Details Revealed in Leaked Sony Emails
"The movie will be a really fun summer adventure film like the Lara Croft movies (with a little bit of Dan Brown thrown in)."
Julian Assange's Wikileaks on Thursday published thousands of files stemming from the Sony Pictures hack. In all, the group released more than 30,000 documents by way of a searchable database titled "The Sony Archives." Some of these files, mainly emails sent between staffers including former Sony Pictures executive Amy Pascal, even have ties to video games--specifically the Uncharted movie.
We've pored over the leaked emails and some of the most interesting findings are listed below.
Regarding the release of the documents--which were originally exposed last year reportedly by North Korean hackers--Assange said in a statement: "It is newsworthy and at the center of a geo-political conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there."
But Sony Pictures isn't thrilled. In a statement to The Los Angeles Times, a representative for the film company said it was unfortunate that Wikileaks decided to release the documents today.
"The attackers used the dissemination of stolen information to try to harm SPE and its employees, and now WikiLeaks regrettably is assisting them in that effort," a Sony Pictures spokesperson said. "We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks' assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security, and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees."
With that out of the way...
The Uncharted Movie:
Comparisons to National Treasure:
In an October 2014 email sent to Pascal and other Sony executives, Columbia Pictures senior vice president Jonathan Kadin outlined how he thought the Nicolas Cage movie National Treasure was a "softer" and "sillier" movie than the script in the works for Uncharted.
"National Treasure is certainly a fun movie with an engaging historical mystery (and Uncharted can deliver on those elements), but the action sequences are softer, mostly wide shots and very little physical mano-a-mano fights, gunfire, or up close intensity," he said. "They aren't inspired. They don't feel real."
Kadin went on to say that that National Treasure's opening scene, which depicted Nicolas Cage and Sean Bean duking it out in a "dialogue-heavy scene," didn't have enough action. But Uncharted will, Kadin said.
"Compare this to our opening scene with Drake on the plane teetering on the mountain, taking on armed men as the plane slides soft the cliff," he said. "It should be intense and more engaging for adults, and of course young teens as well."
"Nathan Drake has a sense of humor and fun banter with Sully, or clever verbal sparring with Elena, but the script never feels goofy or silly," he adds.
Kadin also says that the Uncharted movie would have a better romantic story than National Treasure, which saw Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger falling in love after Kruger's character initially shows no interest--and even disdain--for Cage's character, Benjamin Gates. "It's also worth noting that the Nate and Elena relationship is a lot sexier and more fun than the Nic Cage-Diane Kruger relationship in National Treasure. A lot more!! The romantic tension in National Treasure was pretty lame."
"National Treasure is fun no doubt, but Uncharted takes the action adventure movie to a more grounded, contemporary and visceral level, and we need to do that given what audiences have been exposed to since the National Treasure movies," he added. "So, we'll get the kids for sure, but we'll have a movie that can be strong enough--and 'cool' enough--for adults."
Early Thoughts on the Story:
Sony Pictures creative executive Adam North, in a November 2013 email, describes the Uncharted movie as a "really fun summer adventure film like the Lara Croft movies (with a little bit of Dan Brown thrown in)." Dan Brown, of course, is the author of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, among others.
His thoughts on the script at that point: "Drake needs to have more aching questions about his past and where his family comes from so that this discovery that he's related to Francis Drake has personal meaning for him. Right now it's a surprise, but it doesn't feel emotional."
Safe House writer David Guggenheim sent a script to Amy Pascal in July 2014. You can read the entire 124-page script here. It's fascinating, at least the parts I read. Check out one page below. But it's worth noting that The Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal has since come aboard to write a new draft.
In response to notes from Mark Wahlberg, at one point the frontrunner to play Nathan Drake, the script was updated with a number of changes later in July 2014, Kadin says in an email sent to Pascal and Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad. Chief among the changes were adjustments that dialed back the film's "buddy movie" nature to make it more clearly "Drake's story."
In addition, "We've added more to Elena's story with Drake so their relationship feels like the primary relationship in the story," Kadin said. There's loads more details to be found in the document here.
Uncharted Not as Big as Assassin's Creed, and Why That Doesn't Matter:
Belgrad openly admits in a July 2014 email to Pascal that the Assassin's Creed series--a multiplatform franchise--may be bigger than the PlayStation-only Uncharted series in terms of units sold--3X as big, according to his estimation. But he says this won't stop the Uncharted movie from being a success.
"Assassin's has sold like 3x more games worldwide on all platforms than Uncharted and had a more recent release that was huge," he said. "But we don't need to be bigger than Assassin's Creed to justify an Uncharted movie."
For its part, Ubisoft is working on an Assassin's Creed movie that will star Michael Fassbender.
Director Seth Gordon Really Loves It:
Belgrad writes in this May 2014 email that the company was pushing for Thor actor Chris Hemsworth to play Nathan Drake, with Wahlberg and Channing Tatum also in the running.
It's unclear if the offer was ever put in front of Wahlberg, but Sony discussed a $15 million package for the actor to appear in Uncharted, according to a June 2014 email from Columbia Pictures business head Michael Marshall.
Kadin says in a June 2014 email to Pascal and other Sony Pictures executives that Australia and Mexico were potential filming locations for the Uncharted movie, in addition to a sound stage in Toronto.
"[Mark Wahlberg] said he doesn't want to do a lot of green screen," Kadin said. "He wants as much locations as possible. Wants NATE to feel more like Bourne than Indy and of course [director Seth Gordon] agreed."
There are numerous references to a summer 2016 premiere date for the Uncharted movie to be found in the emails. Officially, however, no release date has been announced.
There are loads and loads of emails in Wikileaks' database. Check back later for more.