UNCHARTED Movie Writer Joe Carnahan Talks Casting And Staying True To The Story
As all you fraggers know, Uncharted hasn't had the best of luck in getting its feature film adaptation off the ground. It's been stuck in development hell for years, and had directors come and go, such as David O. Russell, Neil Burger, and Seth Gordon. Finally, after months of silence (due to the departure of director Seth Gordon), Sony announced that Shawn Levy (Real Steel) would direct the highly anticipated video game adaptation based on a script written by Joe Carnahan. With Levy currently at the helm and Sony placing the film on the fast track, it seems like things finally taking shape.
Sony's adaptation of Naughty Dog's Uncharted has finally gained momentum, and in this latest interview, writer Joe Carnahan opens up about working with director Shawn Levy, and casting Nathan Drake.
Writer Joe Carnahan recently spoke to Collider about the film, dicussing how he and director Shawn Levy have been hard at work getting Nathan Drake right, and how they plan to honor Drake's true character as a thief and treasure hunter.
"I can tell you that Shawn Levy and I sat down last weekend, he has fantastic knowledge. Here’s the thing, Shawn is an incredibly bright, incredibly skilled, talented guy, and you sit with him for five minutes and you know and understand why he has the level of success he’s had. I think he understands, we both have tremendous fondness for Raiders, and he wants to, I think Shawn’s capable of doing a lot of things. I can tell you this: what I’ve written is very anti-Indy in the sense of the guy that loves museums and wants to preserve these artifacts. He’s not! He’s a thief and he’s a grifter, and he’s a scourge. He and Sully are not good guys but they’re better than the bad guys. It’s a game, you know, they’re certainly rogues, and certainly don’t have a problem, even in the first game he just kind of dump Elena and it’s interesting. I think it’s gonna be, I honestly think this one’s got a real shot. And I was really glad when Shawn came on because I’m too deep into Bad Boys and I really wanna see that through. Too much sweat equity in that one; years of trying to do Uncharted. I’m flattered that these guys wanted me to write it. It’s a hell of a responsibility and hell of an opportunity and I don’t want to squander it now."
Of course, like with any big name franchise, Uncharted comes with a huge fanbase that is eager to see the beloved video game series brought to life the right way, something video game films just haven't been able to do. However, when it came to adapting the character of Nathan Drake for a film, Carnahan dove deep into the video game source material, and from wha it sounds like, Carnahan is a true fragger like you and me.
"Certainly the signet ring. The harvest magnet, the whole Francis Drake legend, and his parentage, his lineage. I thought that was important. You’re dealing with a guy who’s an orphan, and I came at it that way—what’s some of the things that are important to someone who’s an orphan? In the fourth game they dispelled all that, but I thought it’s still kind of an interesting. What excuses would you make about your character if you held to this notion that you were the heir to this great explorer? Your ancestor’s this great dubious, nefarious explorer? If you believed somehow that was your birthright. Were you conning yourself? There’s some interesting character stuff you can do there. That and the insane, the big action stuff. I kept some characters I like and kind of reset them within that world so there’ll be names and familiar faces and so on, but they won’t necessarily be what they were in the game, which I think is important, you have to do that, create amalgams. I can’t imagine fans of Uncharted will be unhappy, at least with the screenplay. And I do think there’s some interesting, again, anti-Indiana Jones stuff going on, looting and pillaging these UNESCO sites and world heritage sites and also these uncharted realms. There’s 3 million shipwrecks all over the world that have never been seen. That to me is fascinating. So there’s a lot of that stuff, and a lot of that’s kinda new and improved, for lack of a better phrase. I think people will dig it, but I can’t imagine. But I’m sure someone’ll hate my guts, but that’s okay, a lot of people hate my guts."
There have been many petitions and trending Twitter hashtags started by the fans to in an attempt to have their choices (the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Jensen Ackles, Chris Pratt and Nathan Fillion) acknowledged by Sony, and according to Carnahan they have been listening, but there are few important things that need to be considered before they start casting for Nathan and Sully.
"Shawn and I have talked about a couple of guys, but it’s pointless to mention them now because we don’t know where everybody’s gonna be. In a perfect world it’d be Nolan North! [laughing] That’s who I’d like to see play Nathan Drake, that’d be the perfect casting, but I don’t know. I think that’s gonna be, again man, sheer economics. Who’s worth what, when, where, how. What gets us this, what gets us that. What’s the foreign side of things, international things. Mark’s great, Wahlberg’s great, but it just depends how young we wanna make Nate and then ultimately how young we wanna make Sully. Is Sully in his 50s and Nate in his late 30s? Is Nate in his late 20s and Sully’s in his early 40s? Who knows. It really is gonna depend on that process because if X gets excited and says “Oh, I want to play that,” then it means Sully’s gonna have to be this age, and that changes things. And if you’re talking about making three, four films, what’s ideal for that."
It seems like Carnahan has a deep understanding of Nathan Drake that will probably get fans of the franchise very excited to see the film. Can Uncharted become one of the first pictures, alongside the upcoming Assassin's Creed adaptation, to break the video game movie curse?
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