Neil Burger to Write and Direct UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE

     July 7, 2011


Neil Burger (Limitless) has signed on to write and direct the adaptation of the video game Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.  Burger replaces David O. Russell who left the project in May after Sony disagreed with O. Russell’s decision not to give fans exactly what they think they wanted (which, if it’s a straight adaptation of Drake’s Fortune, is just a video game they can’t play).  Variety reports that “producers Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Charles Roven and Alex Gartner sparked to [Burger's] new take on the pic.”

Hit the jump for more on Uncharted.

It’s unknown whether Mark Wahlberg will stay on board to play treasure hunter Nathan Drake now that O. Russell has left the project.  Burger’s Limitless star Bradley Cooper wouldn’t make a bad Drake, but I’m sure fans are busily writing letters encouraging the casting of Nathan Fillion.  When they find a way to convince Sony to put Uncharted on hold so Fillion can shoot it during the hiatus of his TV show (which would be next year), let me know.

As for Burger, I dug The Illusionist and even though Limitless left me cold, that was mostly a script issue.  I’m eager to learn about his take on Uncharted, but I hope it’s not simply “There will be fewer painfully long gunfights and Drake will kill less than 800 dark people.”  Personally, I’d like to see the characters transplanted into a new adventure, but then fans would complain about why they didn’t use the story from Drake’s Fortune even though the story is threadbare, predictable, and anti-climactic.

The third installment in the video game series, Uncharted: Drake’s Deception hits stores on November 11th.


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  • Idris

    We get it, games suck compared to films and anyone who likes them a obsessive and annoying whiney babies.

    You do understand that the main audience for a film ADAPTATION of a game….is……you know……..come on……you can get it……the fans of the game!!!!!!!

    Great articles…..topped off by the fact you enjoyed the illusionist…..which had the most see-through twist of any film i have ever seen. A film around decieving that could not even decieve its viewers….Thumbs up again.

    I did find the 800 dark people line quite funny though, ill give you that. (did you know….get this….that when you are in an african jungle….most of the people there……are………you know what, i’m not going to finish this sentence for you. See if you can figure it out. (Considering you didn’t figure out the twist in the illusionist I have my doubts ;))

    Sorry if im being a little hostile, im just matching your tone.

    pointless really when we all know this film is going to suck.

  • Tarek

    Among Thieves is by far more interesting than Drake’s Fortune. The guys of Naught dogs who wrote it are really talented.

  • elikias

    Great. Now instead of it being an unfaithful adaptation, it will just suck. Balance has been restored to the universe.

  • Chris

    Another negative piece of writing by Matt Goldberg. What is this vendetta you have with fans of things? IE:

    “(which, if it’s a straight adaptation of Drake’s Fortune, is just a video game they can’t play).”

    – I think fans don’t want it to be like Mario Bros. is all, it would be a video game they couldn’t play, they already played it, time to watch it on the big screen in life action awesomeness.

    “When they find a way to convince Sony to put Uncharted on hold so Fillion can shoot it during the hiatus of his TV show (which would be next year), let me know.”

    – Because no actor in the history of filmmaking has done a TV show and a movie at the same time. *cough* Michael J Fox.

    “but I hope it’s not simply“There will be fewer painfully long gunfights and Drake will kill less than 800 dark people.”

    – So you didn’t play the game(s), that much is certain. Good thing you formed an opinion on it already for the basis of this lifeless article.

    but then fans would complain about why they didn’t use the story from Drake’s Fortune even though the story is threadbare, predictable, and anti-climactic.

    – way to put down the game and it’s fans once again who in your eyes are just whiny gamers.

    *slow clap for Matt, the ignorant video game nerd.

  • Jack

    I now only read Goldberg ‘articles’ for the comments! What an ass. All he cares about are clicks, though, so don’t expect a thoughtful rebuttal.

  • nelson

    Matt you are quite ignorant fans dont want a straight adaption they just want it to be faithful to the characters and essence of the story which is not what DOR was doing he was adding characters and making it sound more like national treasure than uncharted

    having mark whalberg as drake is like having charlie day play batman

    we just want our characters like sully,drake,elena,etc to be faithfully adapted they can take the story where ever they want jut dont totally change it where it does’nt feel like uncharted

    fillion is not who majority want anyways he is too old

    cooper would be perfect

    i find it funny you say playing the game is not necessary lol yeah lets adapt a comic book or novel and lets not read the source material

    • GerryA

      I Concur

    • aj

      Even being occasional player, I think I loved playing Uncharted 2, which led me to play Uncharted 1 and now pre-order Uncharted 3. I have tried many highest reviewed games but nothing has yet impressed me like Uncharted 2. I find it far better than Uncharted 1 or any other game out there. The best things I love about the 2nd installment are following:

      - Excellent gameplay mixed with very well executed story. It always makes me feel like I am staring in a movie, not just playing a game. That is how well the cut scenes are integrated.

      - Amazing backgrounds and detailed scenery, especially the scenes in Nepalese city, snow covered mountains and monastery.
      - Great characters with very good acting and dialogues.

      - Epic, Suspenseful and Supernatural storyline which continuously keeps us interested and invested in the stakes.
      - Great music and background score which switches at perfect time to set the mood appropriately.

      Based on these and many other great features of uncharted 2, I am highly looking forward to its movie version. Like all other fans I also want an Uncharted movie which stays true to the game without fiddling much with the characters and the essence of the storyline, but I do not just want to get another mindless action flick only, as that would be more like Sahara, Tomb Raider etc.
      I think it could be interesting for the movie to explore a bit on the life and relationships of Drake other than just the mission and adventures. I would like to see what his internal and external struggles are, what is that he is after that will give him peace, what makes him tick and what makes him who he is today. It will be a very rewarding challenge to explore those things, without affecting his lighter and humorous personality. It would also be great to present things in a refreshingly new way.

      Who should play Nathan Drake?

      Mark Wahlberg – Big No. He is the worst choice to play drake.
      Bradley Cooper - No. From his personality and style he does not come across as drake.
      Nathan Fillion - Yes. He has the look and personality of drake, yet a bit old.
      Nolan North - Yes. He has the part down and portrayed drake very well, yet a bit old.

  • Jack

    I’d be interested to see Joshua Jackson as Drake.

  • Jack

    Actually, why not Nolan North? He looks like he could pull it off and he’d definitely get the voice, attitude and humour right…

  • jymmymack

    Love Russell and Wahlberg together, but every time he started talking about Uncharted, it sounded less and less like it had anything to do with the game. Not saying I want a straight adaptation of the game, just was unsure of the emphasis being switched to the strained father-son relationship between Wahlberg and De Niro as they sought history-based treasure. Saw that before, it was called Indianna Jones and the Last Crusade.

    • jymmymack

      Wow, how does auto-correct on a phone switch a correctly spelled word to an incorrectly spelled word? Indiana Jones

  • Typar

    Matt Goldberg is an ignorant dick. I wonder why most video game movies suck. Have you guys seen Resident Evil, Mario Bros, or even Prince of Persia? They didn’t follow the game. The directors or writers wanted to “make it their own” so they destroy everything good about the games. Uwe Boll is a whole other story. To be fair, Prince of Persia followed the story SOMEWHAT (still not enough), but poor casting made it a bad movie. Nathan Fillion is the only actor I can see playing Nathan Drake. I would love for David O Russell to direct, but not have anything to do with the screen play. His idea for the film was stupid, terrible and everything in between. Matt, I’m not sure that you played the game, but it is not wise to trash fans of the game like you are. People just dont like assholes like you. We fans actually care about maintaining the original story because we want to see a GOOD movie…..a crappy movie that is true to the story is better than a shitty, artsy re imagining to please those who dont like video game. We are the target audience and, somehow, that always gets lost in filming video game adaptations. If you dont want to see a loyal adaptation, then quit writing articles about it and talk about something else….like your favorite tampon brand.

  • Anthony

    Hey Matt, you should definitely not be writing articles that correspond with video games because we all know you hate them. Also, who gives a shit if they have Nathan kill 800 people. Its a video game OK and its the type of game where there is a lot of bad guys. What the filmmakers should do is incorporate the story lines from the first two or have this new adventure take place between Drakes Fortune and Among Thieves.

  • j jonah jameson


    Nuff said. Make it happen. NOW.

  • tarek

    Nathan Fillion or Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

  • Sajorij

    Great replacement. Some might complain about the screenplay in Limitless, but Burger´s directing was excellent.

  • Jon

    I would rather have an unfaithful adpatation and get a good movie instead of a by the book adaptation and a lousy flick.

    That’s right, fanboys. Sue me.

    • LEM

      I think you would have a point with any other game but Uncharted was crafted as a movie experience that you can play. The game really doesn’t need a movie but the movie studios see dollar signs so if they have to make it they should just directly adapt the game because it is well written and acted already so just cast people who fit the roles correctly (NOT WAHLBERG OR FILLION) and it would be a great movie.

  • Al

    I don’t care who the director/writer WAS there’s no way you can have a good video game movie with Mark Wahlberg as the lead, MAX PAYNE that’s all i need to say. Chris Pine, Ryan Reynolds or Chris Hemsworth would all be fine for this role. Cooper comes off as a douche bag in everything he’s in.

    • colin

      agreed. Wahlberg is just not someone I can take seriously in most roles. He worked out fine in The Departed because he got to have some corny fun with it. But his resume is just a laundry list of movies nearly, or completely ruined by his participation. The the thought of him playing Nathan Drake is appalling so i really hope that he moves on from the project.

      And on the subject of Matt Goldberg’s negative attitude toward life, i really think we need to lay off of the guy. If he had been given a few more hugs along the way he wouldn’t be such trainwreck of a blogger to begin with. So lets try to send him some positive energy.

  • Strong Enough

    you guys are so sensitive make me feel like i have no feelings. You get so offended by Matt posts. ALL you do is whine and whine about the way he writes his posts. I actually find it refreshing that a blogger is not hesitant to state his opinion or the way he feels about certain things instead of the bore of reading the same stuff. Even if it’s filled with dry unclever humor lmao

  • LEM

    If you want Drake in a new adventure buy the new game in November but as far as I’m concerned the movie should just follow the games stories because the movie audience who hasn’t or doesn’t play games would probably love them.The story was predictable but it’s made as if it was a big budget action movie which are predictable. The reason the game was such a huge success is because it was crafted like a movie you could play and the story was better than most action blockbusters in recent memory. I think Neil Burger is really unproven as a director or writer but if he does this right he could make a name for himself. I hope they cast someone like Wes Bentley,Matt Bomer or even Jensen Ackles as Drake but stay far away from people like Wahlberg and Fillion they are both too old and wahlberg is damn near a midget who has limited ability as an actor, if he isn’t playing a wannabe tough guy he’s not convincing.

  • Tim

    Here’s the thing with the film adaptation: if they’re using the subtitle “Drake’s Fortune” as Matt pointed out in the article, then the story should follow that which was presented in the game of the same name.

    If they want to use the characters of Nate, Elena and Victor “Goddamn” Sullivan in the medium that is the silver screen, then do an original story that closely follows the trademarks of the series. However, please, for the love of Thor, get Naughty Dog to work with the film crew, and not just a “we trust them” ordeal, which would end up with a 20% Tomatometer reading.

    I’m down for an Uncharted movie that Russel and Wahlberg (and, therein, Pesci and De Niro) are not a part of. But please do it right, and keep the fans in mind.

  • CC

    Someone mentioned this but I would have to say I would love to see Joshua Jackson in this role….Bruce Campbell as Sully…not sure for Elena…

    • Kyle

      I’ve said from the start that Emily Rose would be the one member of the game cast who I could see reprising her role in the film. I think Sony would be more willing to have a relative unknown as the female lead rather than the male lead (Rose may have a decent list of recurring credits on her resume, but she’s hardly well-known) since Drake’s the big draw.

      • CC

        I took a look on IMDB and would agree on her. What does anyone think of Bruce Campbell as Sully???

  • Kyle

    I’m a big fan of the franchise. As others have said, I don’t necessarily want a straight adaptation of the first game; while I think it could work well as a movie since the both games in the series are basically long interactive summer blockbusters, in part I would like to see something different because the games were already so good.

    My issue with Russell was all the weird stuff that he was going to insert that was not at all like the games. When he first talked about introducing family members, I thought it could work- the games never addressed Drake’s family, and I felt that could be explored without drastically altering the franchise. Turning them into diamond thieves, however, was when I stopped being so positive.

    I loved this one interview that Russell did before leaving. He was asked what drew him to the franchise, and he started going on about all of his own ideas that were not in fact part of the franchise (i.e. the family of diamond thieves bit). Maybe that would make a good movie, but I’m not sure why you need the Uncharted brand in that case.

    I get the feeling Sony will demand a big-name star to play Drake. You need a big name to draw people in, and with a relatively unknown director (especially one who hasn’t done a movie like this) and producers who aren’t quite as recognized as Abrams, Spielberg, Bruckheimer, etc., that basically leaves the cast to have name recognition.

  • Jordan N.

    “which, if it’s a straight adaptation of Drake’s Fortune, is just a video game they can’t play”

    Um, no. That’s not what the fans wanted. We just didn’t want O’Russell completely perverting the characters that were well-established in the video games. Obviously a straight adaption of the game would be idiotic (frankly, I don’t see why they’re trying to make this a movie anyway, since the game is already so cinematic). The only thing that works for me would be transplanting the established characters into a new story but again, as a big fan of the games, I don’t much see a point to making a movie anyway.

  • Sean

    Please for the love of God Mr. Burger, cast Nathan!! Play the video games, watch Firefly, now close your eyes & see the light- Nathan Fillion IS Drake… I will accept no less :)

  • Nix

    Everyone always says Fillion. I don’t think Wahlberg would be that bad. Just don’t let him improv. He’s a decent enough action star, and he can be a good actor when he wants to be. Just get him a decent enough script and then throw him in some mud and water, and boom…you’ve got a good Drake.

    If they have the time, bulk up James Roday, and have him play Drake. Roday would knock it out of the park.

    Sully needs to be played by Harrison Ford. I know Bruce Campbell looks more the part, but I think it would be way sweeter to see Ford pass the torch to the new adventure hero. Plus I think he’d have fun playing a drunk old man, who loves chasing women and trying to sleaze his way to a fortune.

  • JRM

    “If it’s a straight adaptation of Drake’s Fortune, is just a video game they can’t play”

    – You’re kidding, right? Fans don’t want a direct adaption, just one that remains faithful to the characters and the world.

  • Zeiram

    I was like most before and wanted Fillion. But with the way things are I think Bradley Cooper would be a great choice. He’s young, athletic, funny and also huge star right now. He has experience with these kinds of quest stories (like in TVs Alias) and he has the same sarcastic and cynical humor like Drake (as he’s displayed in Limitless). He is the perfect choice. Just give him a haircut and dye it black; then you’re in business. The seriously need Emily Rose to be his opposite.

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