Uncharted film director responds to fan complaints

In a recent interview with SlashFilm, Uncharted film writer/director David O. Russell was asked how he felt when fans of the series "bitch" about his treatment of the franchise, despite the script being unfinished. Russell admitted that he isn't a "hardcore" gamer, but said that he has "played the game a bunch of times," and respects the material.

"To grow a game into a movie is an interesting proposition because a game is a very different experience than a movie. You guys are playing the game, and it’s about playing the game. It’s not about a narrative embracing you emotionally. You know what I’m saying? So, I want to create a world that is worthy of a really great film that people want to watch and rewatch, so that’s what I’m working on right now," said Russell.

"As far as I’m concerned, I’m very respectful as far as the core content and sprit of the game, but beyond that it’s my job as a filmmaker to make what I think is going to be an amazing movie. People have to trust that and let that go, I think."

Russell may have slipped up in the eyes of fans when he stated that the Uncharted games aren't about "a narrative embracing you emotionally," but we sense that his intention wasn't to imply that the games are mindless shoot-em-ups, but to emphasize the difference between storytelling in games and in films. We'll let that gaffe slide for now for now, but as he admits in the interview, there aren't many game-based movies which do justice to their franchises, or stand on their own as excellent films, so our cynicism isn't unfounded.

The film is confirmed as an adaptation of the first game, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and tentatively bears the same title. It's in pre-production, and according to Mark Wahlberg, who is rumored to be taking the lead role, it may begin shooting as early as this summer.

Perhaps Russell can be trusted with the material, but as with every game adaptation, he's got a tough crowd to please. And, despite his inoffensive performance in Russell's 2010 Oscar nominee The Fighter, Wahlberg's involvement doesn't exactly raise hopes, especially when Nathan Fillion was the fan favorite for the role.

Feb 22, 2011


  • salvadorzombie - February 23, 2011 4:16 p.m.

    @Zolty717 - Did you not feel that the Uncharted games feel just like Indy movies of old? That's what I got from them, so Russell's ideas aren't really needed. His talent in direction, yes, but the story is fine as-is. Also, that "slick presentation" is the result of the story, gameplay, and graphics, not separate from them. The "core content" would be the story and the performances by Nolan North and company. The plot, and how it's presented *in the performances*. By your logic, the Lara Croft movies should have been amazing - another movie that sought to cram family into the equation when it didn't need it. Fillion as Drake is along the lines of Sam Jackson as Ultimate Nick Fury - not "great", but ideal. He was made for the role, since the role itself was influenced by him (as with Jackson and Fury). Wahlberg is a good actor, but if he couldn't play Max Payne accurately, how can you see him playing Nathan freaking Drake? True, movies can't always translate the plots of games, but this is obviously NOT one of those cases. "Action set pieces put together by a plot" would describe ALL action movies, and many action games. So how is *that* not translatable? There's no need to "fill out" Uncharted if you stick with the initial story and characters. Fillion as Nathan Drake can fill a movie with his performance alone, and as long as they found actors to portray Sully and Elena with enough skill. The villains of Uncharted could easily be filled by any number of actors, and the plot of the game lends itself well to the plot of a movie. AGAIN, how is that not translatable? The fact remains that Russell is lying to us. Uncharted is not about a family. If he has respect for the material, he wouldn't try to convince us of something like this, since it's blatantly untrue. I seriously doubt that he's even played through the game once, for the same reasons. I'm not saying that he's a bad director, but I'm saying that he (like so many others) has no respect for the source material, and that is why I have NO FAITH in this movie.
  • Zolty717 - February 23, 2011 5:08 a.m.

    @ Salvadorzombie Maybe "throw away" plot is a little strong, but the Uncharted story isn't breaking any ground here. It works for what it is, but it's not ambitious or risky. It's kind of down right formulaic, but that works out really great for the games. But if it's going to be translated into a movie, it could definitely BENEFIT from some of O'Russel's ideas. Also, I did not say every witty, fun adventure has throw away plots, don't put words in my mouth Yes I really do think the core content of Uncharted is its slick presentation. It's not the story, gameplay, or graphics(all of which are good, but take a backseat to the style and atmosphere of this game). Yes, Nathan Fillion would have great as Drake, but O'Russel chose Whalberg, which is okay with me, because he has been able to pull good performances out of Wahlberg in Three Kings, I <3 Huckabees, and The Fighter. Movies can't always translate the plots of games because 90 percent of the game is spent doing things that aren't really story related, just action set pieces put together by a plot(sometimes a great plot, sometimes a terrible one). Movies have to fill out that space with extra characters, expositioon, ect..
  • Syncmaster - February 23, 2011 3:03 a.m.

    gamers are a guaranteed audience, so holywood wants more money and change the script so the whole family can see it together with the nanny and granny too. movie industry has no respect for gamers.. period
  • Hamtaro - February 23, 2011 2:02 a.m.

    Tyler, I think the real gaffe that people were concerned about was the fact that, through his own words, David O. said (and I'm paraphrasing, but only loosely), "This game is about a family." How are we supposed to believe that he played the game when he makes a remark like that? It would be like saying, "I've played God of War numerous times, it is a coming-of-age tale about a girl's first kiss." Granted, this example is hyperbolic, but it is just as "wrong" as saying Uncharted is about a family, when there is literally no family in the game (including Nate's ancestors would be a stretch). Game movies generally suck, and expectations (for anyone with their eyes open) should be very low. And I don't think that we should "bitch" about the fact that Uncharted is being made into a movie (it was inevitable). But when the director is misrepresenting how much he knows about the property, it is insulting not just to us, but to the industry as well. To me, Russell's comments stem from something deeper than just failing to know his source material. Really, Russell has told me that he has a complete lack of respect for the medium.
  • manicania - February 23, 2011 2:01 a.m.

    I think what needs to happen is the fans need to get together and make the damn movie. Forget O' Russel.
  • shadowreaper72 - February 23, 2011 1:48 a.m.

    Mark Whalberg sucks. David O.Russel sucks. Movie game adaptations suck. Therfore this movie will suck.
  • salvadorzombie - February 23, 2011 1:02 a.m.

    @Zolty717 - By your logic, any witty, fun action-adventure would have a "throwaway plot," then. Of course, movies like the Indiana Jones series (which obviously inspired the Uncharted series) have anything BUT throwaway plots. Just because something isn't overly dramatic and filled with gravitas doesn't mean that it's meaningless. By the way, do you really think that the "core content" is the slick presentation?? It looks great, but there's obviously a lot of work and love in all aspects of these games. It's not a matter of the "core concept," unless of course you mean the STORY, which Russell is obviously ignoring. The fact that he completely ignored the fact that Nathan Drake was BASED ON Nathan Fillion and bypassed the obvious, perfect choice for Marky Mark shows his lack of attention to detail. He can claim all he wants, but the truth is in everything he has said so far. DeNiro as a father that never existed in the original game (which Russell is supposedly basing the movie on), calling it a story about "a family," it's obvious where his attention is - not on an accurate translation from game to movie, and THAT'S where most of these movies fail. Watch them. NONE of them accurately translate the story.
  • inconceivable - February 22, 2011 11:31 p.m.

    This doesn't really make me feel any better about the movie. All the story details I've heard so far sound like Russell's making Drake some sort of Mafia style antiquities dealer. The casting of Walhberg supports that; he's better suited to playing a gritty mobster than Nathan Drake. I think that the movie has to retain some qualities of the game to be called a movie adaptation of said game. Granted, some of these things are unconfirmed rumors, and the script's not done... But I still don't have very high hopes for it. And I am so not willing to let Russell's comment about games not engaging you emotionally slide.
  • ventanger - February 22, 2011 11:27 p.m.

    "Played the game a bunch of times"? Really? Show me a platinum trophy and maybe you'd be close to earning the right to make a movie about it.
  • SincualaS - February 22, 2011 11:07 p.m.

    I'm with the open minded guys. There are far, far worse choices than oscar nominated actors/director (Uwe Boll, I'm looking at you). So what if it may not be as an exact adaptation of Uncharted on the big screen as we hoped, that by no means automatically makes it shit movie.
  • Turboash - February 22, 2011 11:01 p.m.

    Fuck this movie and fuck this game.
  • cmdates2991 - February 22, 2011 10:49 p.m.

    He definitely won me over when he said those same things that every other director says when they try and make a movie based on a videogame. "True to the spirit of the game" and "I've played the game dozens of times." I'm sure he won't butcher the essence of Uncharted while at the same time make a horrendous film. He's got Marky Mark in it after all.
  • Zeipher - February 22, 2011 10:46 p.m.

    I want to punch this guy in the balls.
  • BraveDave - February 22, 2011 10:23 p.m.

    I dunno, I've heard "I promise we won't mess this adaptation up!" before.. and that movie was the Legend of Chun-Li. Mmhmm.
  • Skykid - February 22, 2011 10:16 p.m.

    @Zolty717 Right with ya man. No need for hatn', the movie is just a separate entity. Little extreme with the 'bastard child' line, but to each their own.
  • Cat_Mundy - February 22, 2011 10:13 p.m.

    Mind open. This could be horrible, it could also be great! Wahlberg was brilliant in The Fighter. He has the talent, just, please make him play the games.
  • Zolty717 - February 22, 2011 10:08 p.m.

    I really can't believe I'm the only one not crucifying O'Russel for his moves so far. Uhhh, the Uncharted games are not about "a narrative embracing you emotionally", he's right. The Uncharted games are all about slick presentation, that's the core he's talking about, not the throw away plots. I made this prediction before, but I think this will be the first universally hailed video game adaptation. If he was making a direct adaptation the movie we'd get would be the bastard child of Temple of Doom. The movie is NOT the game, so let it be its own beast.
  • podsaurus - February 22, 2011 9:54 p.m.

    "You guys are playing the game, and it’s about playing the game. It’s not about a narrative embracing you emotionally." wut.. Many of the best games out there are emotionally engrossing and compelling. Fail movie will be fail.
  • zombieflamingo - February 22, 2011 9:53 p.m.

    The best person to play Elena Would be Emily Rose seeing as she actually does the voice for her and looks like her
  • JakeDaCake - February 22, 2011 9:42 p.m.

    scarlet johansen better not play elena or ill be pissed that will not work. she just not right for it. im startin to doubt he played the whole game.

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