Uncharted Movie Has "Anti-Indiana Jones" Feel to It, Writer Says [UPDATE]

"[Drake] and Sully are not good guys but they're better than the bad guys."


[UPDATE] Uncharted game director Neil Druckmann clarified on Twitter that he has never met the movie's writer, Joe Carnahan. "I haven't met the movie writer, don't know his take on the material, therefore have no opinion on the script," he said.

In the Collider interview, Carnahan said he met with Druckmann and other people involved with the Uncharted series.

"I sat down with [Uncharted director Amy Hennig] and sat down with [Drake voice actor Nolan North] and sat down with [Uncharted writer and director Neil Druckmann], who created this thing, and took them through what I was doing and what I was thinking of and they loved it," Carnahan said.

The original story is below.

Following the news last week that Shawn Levy (Stranger Things, Night at the Museum) will direct Sony's Uncharted movie, writer Joe Carnahan has now revealed more details about the project.

The writer told Collider that Levy is "incredibly" smart and talented and said they both have a fondness for the Indiana Jones movies, which Uncharted shares similarities with. For Carnahan, however, he's taking an "anti-Indy" approach to the script.

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"What I've written is very anti-Indy in the sense of the guy that loves museums and wants to preserve these artifacts. He's not! He's a thief and he's a grifter, and he's a scourge," Carnahan said. "He and Sully are not good guys but they're better than the bad guys. It's a game, you know, they're certainly rogues, and certainly don't have a problem, even in the first game he just kind of dumped Elena and it's interesting."

Video game movies have a track record of mediocrity or worse, so the Uncharted film faces something of an uphill battle, at least in terms of perception. For a video game movie to succeed, it needs to be something that exceeds the sum of its part, Carnahan said, adding that his script is being well received in its current state. It's important that the Uncharted movie stay true to its roots but being too beholden to the source material might be a bad thing, the writer said.

"I sat down with [Uncharted director Amy Hennig] and sat down with [Drake voice actor Nolan North] and sat down with [Uncharted writer and director Neil Druckmann], who created this thing, and took them through what I was doing and what I was thinking of and they loved it," Carnahan said. "She loved it. She understands too that you can't be so slavish and devoted to the source material. I'm a big believer that the fanboy element or the fan lobbies are massively overrepresented in Hollywood and don't have nearly the lobbying power that we think they do."

It's important for the Uncharted movie to "cut loose" from following the game's story too closely, Carnahan said. "You need to break with tradition sometimes to tell compelling stories," he explained.

"It's just making a great movie and trying to put as much of the game in as you can and the sensibilities of making Drake and Sullivan and so on, and beyond that, just do something original and fun," Carnahan added. "Roll the dice, like we have to do on anything. There are no assurances, and there certainly are very few hedging your bets when it comes to making movies. So I really believe that. Just be original. Do your best. Try to check the boxes you can, but beyond that don't get wrapped up."

The Uncharted movie's script, as it currently stands, includes important elements from the game like the signet ring, the harvest magnet, and the legend of Sir Francis Drake. Of course, it will also have "big action stuff," Carnahan said, which is no surprise, given the game series is known for that.

Outside of Drake and Sullivan, we don't know if any other familiar characters will show up. Carnahan said he did keep some characters, but they have been "reset."

"So there'll be names and familiar faces and so on, but they won't necessarily be what they were in the game, which I think is important, you have to do that, create amalgams," he said.

At least based on the screenplay, Carnahan said he thinks Uncharted fans will be happy.

"I think people will dig it, but I can't imagine," he added. "I'm sure someone will hate my guts, but that's okay, a lot of people hate my guts."

Also in the interview, Carnahan said he and Levy have discussed actors who could play Drake, but said nothing is locked in yet because he's unsure who will be available and what it might cost to get them. Nolan North would be perfect, he said with a laugh. But more seriously, it may end up coming down to "sheer economics," Carnahan said.

One of the names floated for Drake was Mark Wahlberg. Carnahan said he would be "great" in the role, but it would depend on how old Drake would be in the movie. The same goes for Sully. Another factor to consider is that Sony apparently wants Uncharted to be a film franchise that could span multiple movies. This complicates the matter of choosing an actor.

"Is Sully in his 50s and Nate in his late 30s? Is Nate in his late 20s and Sully’s in his early 40s? Who knows," Carnahan said. "It really is gonna depend on that process because if X gets excited and says 'Oh, I want to play that,' then it means Sully's gonna have to be this age, and that changes things. And if you're talking about making three, four films, what's ideal for that."

Read the full interview at Collider to learn more about the Uncharted movie, including Carnahan's thoughts on what its rating could be.

A release date for the Uncharted movie has not been announced, but it's reportedly being fast-tracked.

The next high-profile video game movie is Assassin's Creed, which is based on Ubisoft's video game franchise. Michael Fassbender stars in the movie, which opens on December 21.

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Avatar image for ember_to_flame

so instead of drake we will have someone else as a main character in the Movie, just like resident evil xD

Avatar image for RaveNRolla

3-4 movies.. whoa hold your horses there sony. let's see how the 1st turns out ey?

not having the original voices will be offsetting, but it can still be a good adventure movie. elena's voice actor could definitely play elena.

Avatar image for louixiii

As long as it's good and action packed...I'm down

Avatar image for Xristophoros

sounds good... i never understood people who felt there was a need to adapt the source material exactly as it is. when creating art that is in a different medium, changes and liberties need to be taken whether you like it or not. that is just the nature of adapting a game, a book or what have you. this might be the first game-based movie to break the chains of mediocrity but we'll see... well, i will always stand by the first silent hill movie. i found it very enjoyable.

Avatar image for nikon133

I don't think they are as different as he is trying to insinuate.

True, Indy is archaeologist and he'd rather find unseen before statuette of Egyptian pharaoh than treasure. Nat is treasure hunter and he'd rather find chest of completely non-descript gold coins, than a freakin' statuette. But if he does find statuette, he'll sell it to museum. Isn't that what Indy would do as well?

Indy was also poaching archaeology from 3rd world countries and bringing it to museums in US; not necessarily the right thing to do. And they both have similar execution - guns, fists. and same type of rogue boyish charm. And lack of responsibility towards ladies.

Avatar image for Xristophoros

@nikon133: nate would keep the treasure for himself (which is exactly what he has done) or sell it to the highest bidder, even on the black market if he wants to. he is nothing like indiana jones in that respect... the only things they share are their wise cracking personalities and sense of adventure in my opinion.

Avatar image for nikon133

@Xristophoros: But is it really that simple? :)

Nate is treasure hunter. LOST treasure hunter. This is not illegal by default - there are treasure hunters in real world, too. I don't know what are real rules for this - is it all finders-keepers, lost treasure, or is it % of found treasure (while rest goes to legal owners, if any)... but as a concept, it is not criminal activity.

Indy, on the other hand, not only takes valuable items made of gold, gems... but also items that are antiquities, and probably have other importance beside raw value - historic, religious, national importance. Major difference, Indy has academic title and one customer - his museum. But from point of view of ingenious people and governments of the countries he is extracting antiquities from, I'm not convinced there's such a huge difference. How can he negotiate with Secret Service who gets to keep the Ark - is it really theirs to make such decision? What with gold statuette from 1st movie's intro - didn't look like he was planning to give it to natives? :)

Avatar image for pointingmonkey

@nikon133: I don't know about anywhere else, but in the UK. There are some pretty strict rules on treasure hunting. Just to go looking for treasure on a beach, you need to receive a permit from The Crown Estate (all beaches are the property of the Crown, apparently.). Or if you are searching in a local park, farm etc. you then need permission from either the local council or landowner.

In the event that you happen to find something. You then have 14 days to report your find to the local coroner, who will then investigate the find, and decide whether the find is considered treasure. If it is indeed deemed treasure, a price will be decided upon, by the valuation committee. The treasure hunter is the required to put the treasure up for auction to museums (the price it fetches is split 50/50, between the treasure hunter and the landowner, or 100% to the finder, if they also own the land.). If it fails to sell, the finder is then allowed to keep the find.

If you fail to report your find within 14 days, you can either receive a reduced percentage of the sale price, forfeit any ownership, be fined, have your find become the property of the crown, or even imprisoned.

Avatar image for Xristophoros

@nikon133: well, if an area is deemed a cultural or heritage site by a government agency, the land is restricted from public use. the government will block off such areas in order to retrieve ancient antiquities and may try to restore the ruins. there are many sites like this in places like greece for example. even on the side of the highway you might come across them. many of the places indiana jones or nathan drake travelled to would surely be restricted... at the very least they would be trespassing illegally... anything they find would be stealing in such a case lol. i doubt there are many significant sites left on earth that have not been marked, but yea, a few might still exist. also, we haven't even considered the number of people nathan has murdered to get his treasures... he kills for the sheer joy of it in many cases lol... indiana has only killed a fraction of the nathans total by comparison and only does so when has no other choice. anyways, not really sure what my point is anymore, except that nathan is an extreme version of indiana jones and quite different in many ways. but yes, they also share many similarities... such as their love for adventure. indiana jones is just a lot more professional about it :D

Avatar image for nikon133

@Xristophoros: Hey, PhD degree doesn't make a man! Only makes him look more professional ;)

Kidding. OK, I can live with Nat's being rogue version of Indy... well, MORE rogue version of Indy, because Indy is also quite rogue for academic standards.

Re Nat's killing... it is really media thing. I mean, Nat being an action game media, Indy being a film media (and some point & click adventures). Eventually, it is not Nat killing, it is us gamers killing - I'm sure film Nat will kill much less than game Nat :)

(and you can substitute some killing with stealth in U4 ;)

Avatar image for edwardnygma

This has the potential to be very good. We will see.

Avatar image for BLiTZ_156

That worked out great for DragonBall: Evolution. The movie wasn't bad in itself, but the characters and other plot points were so different and since the main fans bashed it for that, there was no one else to stand up for it. It's a shame but that's how it goes.

"So there'll be names and familiar faces and so on, but they won't necessarily be what they were in the game"...

So you're taking characters people know and are familiar with and just changing or 'reset' them.
Won't go down well.

The movie will have to be damn good on it's own and generate it's own fan base, because the game fans will likely not support it from the sounds of things.

Avatar image for mattcake

Indy rocks, why disassociate yourself from the most obvious inspiration the games took? And it aint like the new Indy films are any good...

Avatar image for patsfan365

This is exactly why video game movies never work. No one in hollywood ever gives a damn about the source material, which alienates people that are actually interested in watching film adaptations. So they just end up making a movie for no one, since the general public couldn't give 2 shits about video game movies.

Avatar image for TenraiSenshi

@patsfan365: Pretty much this...

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

I dare them to cast Nicolas Cage as Nathan Drake hahaha.

Avatar image for adamswords

Isn't the anti version of Indiana Jones , the Nazi's ?

Avatar image for snugglebear

What's the opposite of Dr Jones? Snakes. He hates snakes. So in the Uncharted movie, all the roles will be played by snakes in tiny jackets.

Avatar image for ogremalfeitor

@snugglebear: so if they choose a mainstream actor it will be Kieffer Sutherland because he has already been a snake.

Or not.

Anyway, I predict this will fail miserably.

Avatar image for snugglebear

@ogremalfeitor: Kiefer Slither-land

Avatar image for Barighm

Translation: I don't give a shit about the games and I'm gonna do my own thing whether you like it or not because the creators are okay with it, so you should be too. If you don't agree me, you're a fanboy and a scourge of the industry.

Avatar image for linthes999

@Barighm: An accurate interpretation.