Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, the writer/director duo behind This Is The End, turned down multiple offers from Naughty Dog over the past four years to develop a script for Sony Pictures’ long-in-development Uncharted movie, as they revealed in a recent IGN interview. “They’re constantly asking me and Evan to make the Uncharted movie,” Rogen said.
The two admit to being fans of the video game series, but add that they haven’t come up with a suitable idea for turning the interactive tale into a movie. “It’s just going to be Indiana Jones,” Goldberg explained, referring to the similarity between the game’s story and main character, Nathan Drake, and the classic Lucasfilm action series. “If we could figure out a way to make it not Indiana Jones, it’d be awesome.”
An Uncharted movie treatment has been percolating since 2010, when David O. Russell (Three Kings) signed on to write/direct and Mark Wahlberg was confirmed as the star. That project fell apart when Russell left to take on The Silver Linings Playbook amidst cries from the fan community that his suggested story treatment for the adaptation strayed too far from the spirit of the game franchise. Sony was also said to be unhappy with Russell’s proposed budget.
Hope was briefly rekindled in 2011 when Neil Burger (The Illusionist) took over for Russell. He spoke at the time of a more faithful treatment, and even offered some hope to the vocal contingent of fans that will settle for no one other than Nathan Fillion in the starring role. then all went quiet once again until mid-2012, when Sony confirmed that the screenwriting duo behind National Treasure – Marianne and Cormac Wibberley – were set to develop a script for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, though without Burger on board.
This sort of on-again/off-again production process never bodes well in Hollywood, particularly when it comes to adaptations. That said, World War Z proved in June 2013 that even the most fraught, lengthy development period can bear fruit. The big screen adaptation of Max Brooks’ inventive faux-oral history of a zombie apocalypse diverges from its source in some important ways, but it’s also not half-bad.
Whether or not this Uncharted adaptation follows a similar path remains to be seen. It’s clear that there’s still some hope in certain corners of the world that it could happen, though as Rogen and Goldberg correctly point out, the trick is to deliver something that stands apart from Indiana Jones. Nate Drake may be inspired by Harrison Ford’s whip-wielding treasure hunter, but video games aren’t ever going to get the recognition that they deserve in Hollywood while they’re obscured by its shadow.