Fans of PlayStation-based action franchise Uncharted have been dreaming of a movie adaptation for some time. Finally, after much speculation, Sony announced that a movie was in production in 2009, with Columbia Pictures taking the lead. After a slow start, the film is beginning to gather pace and excitement is growing amongst fans of the video game series. Here is everything we know about the movie so far:
Who stars in Uncharted?
Spider-Man star Tom Holland will play the film's protagonist Nathan Drake, with Ted, Transformers and Shooter actor Mark Wahlberg taking on the role of Drake's sidekick and mentor Victor Sullivan. Sophia Ali will play Chloe Frazer whilst Antonio Banderas is also rumored to be involved. Sophia Ali is known for her roles in Grey's Anatomy, Truth or Dare and The Wilds, while Banderas has starred as a variety of memorable characters across the years including Zorro and Puss in Boots. Tati Gabrielle, Patricia Meeden and Sarah Petrick have also been given roles in the movie.
Who is directing the Uncharted movie?
At the time of announcement, David O. Russell was set to direct the adaptation, with previous work including American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, and Anchorman. However, soon after Divergent series director Neil Burger replaced Russell, his work including Limitless, The Upside and The Illusionist. He was then replaced by Seth Gordon, director of Horrible Bosses, Baywatch, Four Christmases and Identity Thief, prior to his replacement by Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy. Two more changes at the helm, including 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg and Bumblebee lead Travis Knight, finally lead to the appointment of Ruben Fleischer who now looks set to finish the job. Art Marcum and Matt Holloway have been present throughout, as the film's writers.
Fleischer has an impressive background with both Venom movies, The Mule, Gangster Squad, and Zombieland on his CV. Like other successful film makers, such as Joss Whedon and Michael Bay, Fleischer studied at the Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Art Marcum and Matt Holloway are a screenwriting duo who have worked on many projects together. Their impressive catalogue includes Marvel's Iron Man, Shadow of Fear, Punisher: War Zone, Transformers: The Last Knight and Men in Black: International, showing their pedigree and qualifications to write for such a movie.
What is Uncharted about?
With Tom Holland being younger than the Nathan Drake seen in Naughty Dog's video game series, and Mark Wahlberg looking considerably younger than the Victor Sullivan that fans are used to, it will come as no surprise that the movie is in fact a prequel to the games. Plot details are few and far between but we do know that the film will show the meeting of Drake and Sully, along with their early adventures together.
Those who are familiar with the Uncharted series of video games will know that both Drake and Sully are treasure hunters, often fighting off competition to secure valuable items and stop them from falling into the wrong hands. There have been four entries into the Uncharted franchise so far to feature Nathan Drake, beginning with Drake's Fortune followed by Among Thieves, Drakes Deception, and finally A Thief's End. A fifth entry, The Lost Legacy, was released in 2017 but does not focus on the story of Drake and Sully.
The movie will take place prior to all five video games, and as such has free reign to an extent, other than allowing for the events of the games to take place within the same canon and timeline.
Where is Uncharted being shot?
The movie has had multiple shooting locations, but was confirmed to have finally wrapped filming in Berlin, Germany.
When does Uncharted come out?
The first release date for Uncharted was set for 2016, however, due to multiple delays and change of director the film is now set for release in February 2022. Due to a new deal between Sony and Netflix, the movie will arrive on the streaming service within two years after its theatrical release.
What does the Uncharted cast say about the movie?
Prior to the release of the movie, Tom Holland has already criticized his performance as the film's protagonist Nathan Drake. He told GQ: "As soon as you start worrying about 'Do I look good in this shot?' acting becomes something other than playing a character."
"I think there are elements of my performance in Uncharted where I kind of fell under that spell of being 'I want to look good now. I want this to be my cool moment.' I had to play this very tough, very stoic guy, basically, be Mark Wahlberg."
"My character is supposed to be a f**king action hero in this moment! Look, I haven't seen it, so I don't know if I succeeded in that."
"But it was an important lesson learned, because, at times, it was less about land a mark and go through this scene and more about land a mark, stand like this and see my bulging biceps... It was a mistake and is something that I will probably never do again."
Holland does, however, believe that Uncharted holds a solution to 'The video game movie curse' that often plagues movie adaptations, he told IGN: "I think what Uncharted offers that most video games films don't is that it's an origin story to the games."
"So if you played the games, you haven't seen what's going to happen in the film, and if you haven't played the games, you're going to enjoy the film because it's information that everyone else is getting at the same time. But I'm super excited for the movie and it's been a long time coming."
Holland's co-star, Mark Wahlberg revealed to The Wrap that many ideas for the movie had been suggested, some having him in the role of Drake, but he believes the current idea to be the best: "I'm familiar with the games, but I think this is going to be a nice segue into Nathan becoming Nathan Drake, which I think it will be really cool for audiences. I was attached for years and years to play Nathan Drake and now I'm playing Sully!"
"It's by far tenfold better than all the other versions of the movie that they were going to make at one point or another, which is why I was willing to come back and jump into that part. There have been many different filmmakers and versions of the script, and they just knocked it out of the park. When I read it, I was like, 'oh wow.'"
"I felt like I was reading a movie and watching a movie, and it felt like Indiana Jones meets Thomas Crown Affair meets a Bond movie. It was like, wow, I've made a lot of movies, but I've never felt like, this is a movie movie. I just got really excited about it, so I was committed to playing the part."
"It's exciting because, without giving too much away, it's more of an origin story. Meeting them, and Nathan becoming Nathan. Sully and him meeting, trying to not only get one over on each other, but also starting to partner up and develop that relationship. It'll be very cool."
"It's the first time I'm in a movie that's a movie. I felt like when I was reading it, I was reading Indiana Jones or Thomas Crown Affair. It's got these great elements of these heist movies and adventure movies like I've never been a part of."
What does Uncharted's original Drake think of the movie?
In an interview with The Gamer, voice actor Nolan North, who originally played Nathan Drake in the games, was asked if he had given Tom Holland any tips on taking on the role: "Well, Tom doesn't need any mentoring."
"I got the chance to talk to him and his brother, Harry, and both of them are huge fans of Uncharted. When you find that out, and when you get to meet Tom in person, he's gonna do it justice. He's going to do very, very well. He's very athletic, he's a talented dancer, and a very physically gifted performer. [He's also] doing a lot of his own stunts, which I'm sure the insurance company is just thrilled about."
"But his exuberance, his enthusiasm to play his role, it's a similar to Ryan Reynolds with Deadpool. He has been, for his life, a massive fan of Deadpool. It goes beyond, 'oh, I get a great paycheck, I'm Deadpool, cool.' This is bigger than, 'I'm Nathan Drake'. He was so effusive with his praise, and so down-to-earth, there's a lot of charm to him and he's got a quick wit. I think he's going to be really, really good, and he looked the part."
"Sony did a very smart thing by not trying to do a 1:1 adaptation of Uncharted, and rehash a story that we've already seen, those games were movies in themselves. So they did a brilliant move: 'where was Nathan Drake in his twenties?' Perfect."
"It's not necessarily a prequel to the games, but from what I gathered from the producers I talked to, they were like, 'This is Nathan Drake in his twenties, because thirties into his forties? You took care of Nolan. So we're going to go here.' Now, they'll take some artistic license. This is not a spoiler, but I think you're going to meet Elena. [Nathan] meets her in the first [game], but I don't see how you do movies without Elena."
Asked whether Elena was integral to the storyline of Uncharted, North replied: "Yeah, I think so!"
"Also, you know, Mark Wahlberg is playing Sully. Richard McGonagle, who plays Sully in the games, is from Boston (like Wahlberg). Perfect, and he's an international film star. You're going to get a lot of eyeballs on this, so I think it's going to be a fun romp of a movie."
"The biggest component that I'm excited about is the director, Ruben Fleischer. He's got a background in comedy, but he makes great action movies, like Venom. If you remember, Venom was dark and action-packed, but there were really some humorous moments put in there to give the audience a breath."
"I think they're going to smash it. Tom is a charming guy, and his excitement and enthusiasm for the project isn't dying. I think they're going to get it right. I'm excited! I'm excited to see it."
Will Uncharted survive the Video Game Movie Curse?
Many franchises have tried and failed to transfer from video game to the big screen. Naughty Dog will look at other PlayStation classics such as Prince of Persia, Ratchet and Clank and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider that have all tried previously, with limited success. It doesn't end with PlayStation, multiplatform entries such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Doom and Resident Evil have all tried. Even Xbox and Nintendo specific game franchises have attempted to make the jump, with Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu all trying to make an impact on the Hollywood sphere. Despite multiple attempts, video games have yet to capture the imagination of movie-goers with a blockbuster hit that would put the world of gaming on the map for cinemas in years to come. The question then, is can Uncharted break the mold?
The movie has many factors going in its favor; an Indiana Jones style leading-man in Nathan Drake, a star-studded cast and a cult following from its gaming days. Uncharted is arguably more relatable for average movie-goers than many other gaming titles as well, the idea of a treasure hunting duo seems slightly more realistic than a supersonic blue hedgehog for example. Whether these factors are the recipe for success or a recipe for disaster remains to be seen but, other than the delays, signs are positive for now.