So, how do you get yourself off directing a videogame adaptation? Submit a 200-page script with a bunch of characters that aren’t in the game and you’ll be doing exactly what David O. Russell did before he left the director’s chair of gestating big screen version of the popular “Uncharted.” Already a choice that made nerds uneasy — mostly because Russell hadn’t played the game which apparently is necessary in mounting a movie — the newest name to board the project should make gamers a bit happier.
Variety reports that “Limitless” helmer Neil Burger has nabbed the job, getting the call after he pitched a take on the movie that producers Ari Arad, Charles Roven and Alex Gartner took a liking to, probably because it actually bore some resemblance to the game. It’s still not clear if the long attached Mark Wahlberg will still star now that his BFF4EVA Russell has left, but our guess is that it will come down to the script. Wahlberg knows this is a big franchise in the making and we’d guess he’ll be keeping his foot in the ring for now.
Burger is riding very high right now, with “Limitless” becoming an unexpected smash hit this spring taking in over $150 million worldwide. Not bad for a high concept, sorta sci-fi thriller. And while he told us about the few scripts he has in development that are slowly moving forward — particularly one called “The Criminals” about a band of crooks that take on terrorists — Burger has been on surprisingly been on no shortlist stories in the past little while, but it looks like he’s finally banking his first major studio film. Sony sees this as an potential “Indiana Jones” type franchise and will another video game in the series coming on November 11th they will want to get this moving as soon as possible.
While we wish that Burger was doing something a bit more exciting instead of a big tentpole, at the very least this kicks open a major door for the helmer who has shown particular verve and skill with his indie features so far. As far as replacements go on this kind of movie, you can’t make a much better choice than this.