May 26, 2011 6:00 PM | Matthew Hawkins
Celebrated screenwriter and director David O. Russell, whose credits include such films as I Heart Huckabees, The Fighter, and my personal favorite, Three Kings, has just walked away from the big screen adaptation of Uncharted, according to Variety. The reason given was "creative differences" with Sony, for whom the movie would be made for (their Columbia Pictures subsidiary to be exact).
The news should come as a relief to many. Initially when Russell was attached to the project, many were hopeful, given his strong caliber of work. The fact that he was clearly enthusiastic whenever the subject was brought up made the deal even sweeter. Once actor Mark Wahlberg was cast as the lead, only one question remained: what could possibly go wrong?
A totally different and rather eye-roll worthy take on the subject matter, that's what. It was eventually revealed that Russell's idea for Nathan Drake and his cohorts was nothing close to the exploits of some average dude, one who happens to be a treasure hunter that gets himself in hairy situations, and tries his best to be a ladies man, but doesn't quite have it. Instead the plot revolved around a crime family, similar to the Sopranos, who still have a sense of justice and keep the peace in the world of art and antiques. Needless to say, the rather large and passionate fan base was not pleased. So again, it's just as well that the movie is no more. Or is it?
Over the years, several movies based upon gaming's most treasured properties have been attempted and later abandoned. I'm talking about the AAA licenses from the truly big publishers, films based upon Metroid and Halo for example, but neither materialized due to a variety of reasons. Lack of resources was cited for the latter, whose director, Neill Blomkamp, would go on to helm another sci-fi tinged epic about conflict (District 9). As for the former, plain and simple developmental hell caused its steward to abandon ship; as much of a fan of John Woo I was back in the day, the very idea of him overseeing the adventures of Samus Aran never did sit quite right.
But Uncharted's story might be different, since Sony has the experience, and more importantly the money, to get a movie made. Which was a totally wild beast for Nintendo and Microsoft. Time will only tell if the project is indeed dead.