The Uncharted Movie Director Explains The Method To His Madness

The Uncharted Movie Director Explains The Method To His Madness

The director of The Fighter and I ♥ Huckabees is hard at work on transforming Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune into a movie, much to the chagrin of some fans of the PlayStation 3 game. What does David O. Russell have to say to his early haters?

Slashfilm took that question (“How does it feel to be an academy award nominated and a critically acclaimed director, [who]has to see a bunch of video-game fans (who’ve never made a movie) bitch about ruining Uncharted before he’s even finished the script?”) to the director to find out.

Of course, that question is referring to casting rumours of Mark Whalberg as Nathan Drake and a family of treasure-hunting, justice-dispensing antiquities experts. Russell cops to not being much of a gamer, but argues that, well, he’s not making a game.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m very respectful as far as the core content and spirit 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,” Russell says. “People have to trust that and let that go, I think. “

“You can be guaranteed that it’s going to be real, it’s going to be raw, it’s going to be intense, it’s going to be original, and it’s going to be propulsive. And those are all the things that I want when I go to watch a movie like that.”

Fair enough, David. I’m officially reserving judgment until I see Marky Mark’s ability to half-tuck in his shirt. Do your thing.

David O. Russell Responds To The Internet’s Response To The Fact That He’s Making ‘Uncharted’ [Slashfilm]


  • That all sounds just fine. It may even be a great movie in its own right. Just don’t call it Uncharted and don’t call the main character Nathan Drake and then everybody will be happy.

    • Yep. I agree with you. Whether or not his movie is great is not as relevant as whether or not he should be calling it ‘Uncharted’.

    • Yeah completely agree. It may be a great movie… but if the plot, characters and vibe is completely different; then why attach “Uncharted” to it? The only thing that stays true to the series so far is the name ‘Nathan’.

  • I’m pretty unimpressed by the response. I don’t want to sound offensive but this “it’s going to be real, it’s going to be raw, it’s going to be intense, it’s going to be original, and it’s going to be propulsive” sounds like a guy talking out of his ass. Every director and actor say this about every movie they make, but not every movie is fantastic.

    He also seems to imply that fans should just let go of their beliefs that he needs to stick to the original story and trust that he will make a good movie out of it. Problem is fans don’t want your average action adventure movie, they want an Uncharted movie based on the game. It is called Uncharted after all isn’t it. If I made a movie based on Moby Dick that was about a street racer drifting his way to the top of some street gangs, people would hate it. And rightly so.

    • Uwe Bolle had much the same sort of thing to say about FarCry when I interviewed him years back. He was delusional and look how that turned out. This is sounding much the same.

      • Yeah, except for the fact that when Far Cry was happening, everyone knew Boll was a piece of human shit, whereas David O. Russell is a good filmmaker.

        Oops, sorry, game nerds only here, wouldn’t know a good film if it hit them in the face.

        I bet no one here even knows what I Heart Huckabees is.

    • Yup For the First Movie they should always stick to the original.

      Him changing stuff means the characters will likely change then it’s not an uncharted movie.

      The Sequel can have an original story but thats because the characters are semi bound by there original movie

    • Or make a movie called “My sister’s keeper” and have it be about post-apocalyptic train battles, with cannons and shit, and have all the trains filled with ex-cons. It would be like Death Race, but with trains and cannon battles like in pirate movies.

      Actually, screw it, that would be *kickass*

      “Shit!! Go left, go left!”
      “We can’t, this is a bloody train!!!”
      “OH GOOOO- *derails and explodes*

  • Yeah that movie he talks about isn’t Uncharted. Sure it might be a good film, but why bother even licensing the game’s name and characters if you are just going to ignore them?

    • It’s worth noting that Diehard 2, 3 and 4, Starship Troopers and iRobot, to name a few, were all different scripts for original films that were reworked to fit a license the studio owned and wanted to quickly use for their rights to it ran out.

      A bazillion dollars says Russel had this script lying around all ready written and the studio offered him lots of money and blow to change the script title from Treasure Busters to Uncharted and then Replace All the lead character name from Marky McheroMark to Nathan Drake.

      • It’s also worth noting that the movie “Starship Troopers” would have been a lot more interesting and deep if they followed the source material more closely.

        Seriously the book is fantastic, and it absolutely craps on the movie. The CGI animated series however… That was actually pretty badass.

        • Ditto I Robot, and I am Legend actually, two classics of literature that had their titles licensed and then slapped on someone elses half assed spec script.

          • Even more depressing about I Am Legend is that there’s an extra ending they filmed that’s closer to the book’s idea, but they didn’t end up using it, instead opting for the crap we saw. It just shows that nobody involved ever really believed in the book’s message.

  • Considering how crappy most game-to-movie adaptions are you can’t blame fans for have low expentations. Also the fact that the proposed story doesn’t sound much like the game at all.

    Plus, who cares if gamers/ video game fans have never made a movie? Does every film critic need to have made a movie to have a right to judge a movie?

  • As an alternative, if he was making a movie based on Great Expectations, set in the 60’s and Pug was a young american magician in training who went to Vietnam to use his arcane powers to battle the Viet cong and became a man (actually that sounds kinda cool), it wouldn’t be Great Expectations, and saying it was, or that you are ‘respectful as far as the core content and spirit’ of the source material is a big hairy lie.

    Is it so hard for him to just say, “Hey, i’ve got no idea what the games about, and I’ve never bothered to find out, truth is I don’t care, someone gave me a 25 word pitch and I’ve got Marky Mark and De Niro on speed dial so I’m going to call them up, re-write National Treasure 2 with some Goodfellas dialogue and use lots of shakey cam for action scenes, then cash my cheque for many millions of dollars”.

    Because that’s the case, he doesn’t care about the source material, this is a fat meal ticket studio film on the back of an Oscar happy ending rubdown.

    What really gets me, is that when the film tanks and he goes back to making interesting but forgetable oscar bait (seriously, The Fighter was dull, powerfully dull, he peaked at Three Kings) and he gets asked in interviews about his ‘box office bomb’ he’ll shrug and say, ‘hey, game movies, they never do well, the material doesn’t adapt well’.

  • Yeah he is screwing up an adaption, but sometimes I feel like if ya want to experience it, play the game.
    I dont wanna see a movie when I’ve seen/experienced it in a game.

    If they adapt a video game but with a different story people complain “It’s not following the game” but if they adapt the storyline of a game completely people will cry that they could’ve played the game instead.

    It’s different for a book or a piece of text because you want to experience it visually, put your imagination of what you believe it to appear like on the screen.

    He probably shouldn’t be using the Uncharted name if he isn’t going to use the correct characters or concept, I’m with everyone there – but if he uses Drake and the people around him NOT some random family treasure hunter premise I’m all for that provided he doesn’t just adapt it from the video game’s storyline when the game itself is like experiencing a film.

    I also look at it from what franchise or game it is. A franchise like Mass Effect, Halo, Half-Life or even Bioshock is possible without having to use primary characters. They are universes that can be expanded or told through film. We don’t need a Master Chief story or a Commander Sheppard story considering its an RPG and taking a GOOD approach will upset the Renegade fans, just like we don’t need a Half-Life film with Gordon cause we dont want a voice to the character. But there are other characters they can use to tell the story within the same universe or time-frame. I guess you can look at like from the perspective of Halo: ODST to the original Trilogy.

    • I really have to disagree with this. I think if a HL2 movie in the style of District 9 that directly follows the plot of the game could be produced, with the only exception being that Gordon talks (or at least responds to people with “yes” “no” etc, as he should have in the games anyway), I’d be more than happy for Gordon to be a freaking chatterbox if that’s the tradeoff required.

      Same thing with Mass Effect. Simply portray a version of Shepard that’s the most engaging and fun for the audience (ie. not a 100% paragon, nor a 100% renegade), which to me is a lighthearted rogue-ish Shepard who defends citizens yet takes every chance given to shoot/right hook bad dudes in the face. The idea that an ME movie wouldn’t appeal to fans, or could never be a great film, just because it wouldn’t be their own specific Shepard on the big screen is absolutely retarded.

  • I find his response smacks of Hollywood ego. To his phrase “people just need to let go” – contains the great arrogance that fans don’t know what they want, so should just shut up.

    It is not like we haven’t seen bad computer game films in the past 20 years. There are consistent signs when a video game film is going to be a waste, and they often come back to the Hollywood writer / director not respecting the source material enough.

    You want to make your own movie? Go all auteur about it, you’ll probably make history. You want to cash in on a computer game franchise? Then learn to respect those who are frankly your core audience.

    If you’re not going to make a game that appeases fans of the franchise, why are you using the franchise name in the first place?

    • David O Russell got a terrible reputation as an extremely arrogant douche.

      Fist fights with George Clooney after Cloontag asked him nicely to stop screaming at and shoving the crew members around during Three Kings filming. He exploded at Cloontag, dared him to punch him then grabbed him round the throat and screamed that he was a pussy. It’s not like this was a rumour, heaps of people came forward and said he was an abusive lunatic. Then there’s the Lilly Tomlin video from I heart huckabees, even more embarrassing.

      Seriously, who could do that to Cloontag? He’s adorable, even I want to marry him.

  • Who gives a shit if the movie’s like the game or not? Being a movie based on a game, loosely or otherwise, it’s going to be crap.

    Reconcile yourself to this fact and get over it. Nobody’s making anyone watch the movie, are they?

  • Translation – I think gamers can shove it, I think I’m awesome at making movies and I’ll disregard ‘the story so far’ and make what I want if I want toc.

    Who does he think his target audience is exactly?

    I don’t have to hold judgment. Based purely on what this twat has said in the media to date its easy to see that this movie will be so crap it might even take the crown from Super Mario Bros.

  • Dont care, couldnt care less.

    Im a gamer, Im also a movie watcher, I like a whole range of mediums, but Im a gamer first.

    You wanna make a movie champ, go right ahead but me and a lot of other gamers are getting sick of you Hollywood types taking a perfectly good idea, and letting your ego take over.

    Games are just too ‘gamey’ or something to be directly related into film? I dont care if this is an awesome film it doesnt mean its a adaptation of the game.

    Why is it that when someone does a hacked version of a book they get smashed, denounced for having raped text, for missing the point, but when its in relation to games we as fans of the medium are told to shut up and take what were given because who the hell are we to expect that our beloved games and their creators get the respect they deserve.

    Shame on you, you elitist moron, you sure are making a movie, it just doesnt sound like its anything to do with the game.

    Oh and nice way stereotyping the reaction of gamers, maybe we react that way because every time one of you take our games to the silver screen you botch it, or turn it into something completely out of cannon.

  • Mark as Drake? Really? He’s not even taking the character, just the name; personally I would have gone with David Boreanaz, seems like a better fit for the role.

    But hey, it’s a movie based on the title of a game, so I guess he can cast whoever he wants and mould the role around them…

  • Wait…I’m confused, has he just admitted to ripping off ideas and touting them as his own?

    Why doesn’t he just call it “Treasures of National Importance”?

  • Wow, i’m super impressed, every comment i’ve read has been well thought out and well spoken, not like the “argeagagjlaf!! >:{” i was expecting, well done guys.

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