Just the other day I was thinking about what was the status of the Uncharted movie. I know that wondering about such a thing may seem trivial in a sense or I would be better off thinking about video game movies starring Michael Fassbender, but nonetheless I wondered where the Uncharted film stood in the giant machine that is Hollywood film development. After months of silence about the project from those involved, Sony Pictures has given us a not so great update on the would-be theatrical adventure of Nathan Drake and company.
After kicking director David O. Russell to the curb based on how his Uncharted vision strayed too far from the source material (it had Mark Wahlberg as Nathan Drake and Robert De Niro playing his father), Sony acquired the talents of Neil Burger. The director of the brainy yet stylish thriller Limitless, which is on Netflix Instant if you want to watch it, things seemed as if they were finally on track for the Uncharted flick. Well today we have some not so great news as Sony announced that Neil Burger is no longer attached to the project, thus we’re back to square one.
Unlike the split between Sony and David O. Russell, which was chalked up to creative differences, no reasons have been given as of now as to why Neil left the Uncharted film. It’s somewhat standard to see directors leave projects that have become stagnant so it could’ve been a case of Neil wanting to move on and not waste any more time on something that wasn’t making any progress.
On the heels of Neil leaving the long gestating Uncharted film Sony has brought in two new writers, which I think brings the total number of people who have written drafts for the flick to twelve. Now penning the film adaptation of Uncharted are Marianne and Cormac Wibberley, the writing duo behind Disney’s popular National Treasure franchise. It’s a bit ironic that Sony has chosen the Wibberley’s to pen Uncharted, but I assume the studio is under the impression that the duo know the formula for easy going adventure fair that makes $300 million+ at the box office.
It may seem alarming the pair behind National Treasure are now tasked with bringing Nathan Drake and Sully to life in a movie, but the ultimate product may not be that bad in the end – if the movie still gets made of course. At this point it’s unknown who will step into the director’s chair next, but if Sony deems Uncharted a high profile movie it could be possible that the studio will simply choose a journeyman director that can get the job done without being too difficult to work with (such as F. Gary Gray or even Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson). If the Wibberley’s turn in a cliché filled script that is essentially National Treasure 3 it’s certainly possible that a decent director and cast could elevate the movie above whatever mediocrity it may be steeped in.
With the exit of Neil Burger I honestly wouldn’t bet on the Uncharted movie happening anytime soon. Hollywood apparently likes to have video game projects in development that never go anywhere (remember the Lost Planet movie from Warner Bros.?) and I think Uncharted will simply join that ever growing list. In a perfect universe it would be nice to see a double whammy of Uncharted in three years with the release of a next-gen Uncharted game a movie that’s worth our $12 but I don’t think such a thing will happen.