We have to admit, we initially weren’t too thrilled with the news that David O. Russell was signing on to direct an adaptation of the video game “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.” We didn’t really see how his sensibilities would flourish in a big budget tentpole, particularly one that would likely be constrained by playing to fan expectations. Guess we were wrong.
Sony is giving Russell an amazingly free hand in bringing “Uncharted” to the big screen so far, and we’ve definitely been intrigued by what we’ve heard. Mark Wahlberg has confirmed that he will once again reteam with the director (the pair have already worked together on “Three Kings,” “I Heart Huckabees” and “The Fighter“) and even went on to reveal that yes, there are parts being written with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in mind. An auteur driven video game movie with some serious actors? That’s got to be some kind of first. Well, David O. Russell recently sat down with the LA Times to talk about “The Fighter” and opened up a little bit about “Uncharted” and how he envisions its big screen incarnation.
The game follows Nathan Drake, a descendant of Sir Francis Drake and a treasure hunter, as he searches for the lost treasure of El Dorado, with the help of a journalist and much swashbuckling adventure ensues. However, for Russell, he plans on expanding the world of the game to include “Drake’s extended family — and put them in fraught, globetrotting situations with some of the world’s most influential people.”
“This idea really turns me on that there’s a family that’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of international art and antiquities … [a family] that deals with heads of state and heads of museums and metes out justice,” Russell said.
He elaborates on his approach saying he’ll take the character driven elements from his previous films and plant them into a film that will have a much broader canvas saying, “We’ll have the family dynamic, which we’ve done in a couple of movies now. And then you take that and put it on the bigger, more muscular stage of an international action picture, but also put all the character stuff in it. That’s a really cool idea to me.”
So an international action picture version of “Antiques Roadshow“? Ok, we’re being facetious, but we are definitely curious to see Russell shape a video game tentpole in his hands. It certainly sounds like the right approach, adding some real dimension to the video game movie genre that for the most part features one note characters and situations which very little work done on the concepts to make them functional for the big screen.
But even though the script is only halfway done at this point, Russell says development is moving like a “locomotive” and Sony hopes to get this one in front of cameras and on screens soon. The director definitely seems excited by the project and with his hands-on involvement, this is no mere paycheck gig. We’re definitely curious to see how this one takes form, but for now, we’re eagerly awaiting “The Fighter” which will hit theaters on December 10th.