It looks like Nathan Drake is set to finally get a big screen adaptation. This time with a twist.
The popular video game Uncharted has been a staple of the PlayStation system and one of their most successful standalone titles as well. In the game, you hunt for treasure as Drake, a gritty, adventurous everyman. Along the way, you fight off foes that are looking for the same loot. Through the aforementioned adventures, you run into different creatures and villains along the way.
It’s Indiana Jones for the new generation.
The game has so much appeal from a storytelling standpoint that a film adaptation was a natural next step. A movie project has been in the works for a while. At one point, Mark Wahlberg was set to star as Nathan Drake with David O. Russell directing. But Wahlberg eventually dropped out and Uncharted has bounced among several writers and directors ever since.
After being stuck in production hell, it didn’t look like a film would get off the ground.
But on Monday, news broke from Sony Pictures that Tom Holland, star of the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, would play Drake in an Uncharted movie. The report came as a surprise, considering that Drake is a full-grown man in the games. So the film will be a prequel to what has been seen in the Uncharted games.
Throughout the four games, we see flashbacks to a younger Drake. The story is left wide open and ripe for a fun, exciting narrative.
Sony casting Holland in another potential franchise would seem to indicate that the studio is very happy with the work he did playing Peter Parker. Sony chairman Tom Rothman apparently decided to go in a younger Nathan Drake direction after watching his performance. Jumping out of the Marvel bubble and latching onto another Sony property doesn’t feel like it should be an issue. Unfortunately, the failure of so many video game movies doesn’t bode well for the chances of Uncharted being a hit.
The Assassin’s Creed film just flopped. Warcraft also had a very weak domestic release. Those films tried to stick to the narrative of the games almost to a fault. Change could be what this genre needs.
In addition to Holland, Shawn Levy will direct. Levy has helped helm films like Real Steel, Date Night and Night at the Museum. He’s also one of the producers behind the hit Netflix show Stranger Things. Levy’s background seems to be in comedy, based on his filmography. But he and writer Joe Carnahan, known for darker films like Narc and The Grey, could really go anywhere with the plot.
With the source video game material to work from (the first film will reportedly be based on flashbacks in Uncharted 5), Uncharted could be a tentpole franchise for Sony. And the studio could use one. At the lend of last year, Sony reported that it lost over $900 million because of its film division. That puts a lot of pressure on this series to succeed.
At only 20 years old, Holland could play Nathan Drake for the next decade-plus, if need be. That makes the prospect of a multi-film franchise even more appealing to a studio. Naturally, that first film has to do well and surrounding Holland with a good supporting cast will be crucial. But with a proven writer and director in place, along with an up-and-coming star, the potential is there.
So what are the chances that a rabid video game fan base will withhold harsh judgment until seeing the film in theaters?