Could Uncharted finally be moving in front of cameras? The film took a big step today by casting actors who aren’t in the lead roles. Variety reports that Antonio Banderas will follow up his Oscar nomination for Pain and Glory by joining the project alongside Sophia Ali and Tati Gabrielle. There are no details on who any of these actors will play, but I’m willing to bet that Banderas is bringing his newfound Oscar-cred to the villain role.
Ruben Fleischer, who is in Sony’s good graces after directing Venom towards a big worldwide box office, is helming the picture, which will be an origin story for treasure hunter Nathan Drake, played by Tom Holland with Mark Wahlberg cast as Nathan’s friend and mentor, Sully. It’s a fun bit of casting since long ago, Wahlberg was cast in the Nathan role, but since Sony loves their young Spider-Man actor, they wanted him for Drake, which makes sense from a financial standpoint. In the event that Uncharted is a hit, you’ve got a young, popular actor who can give the studio a fresh franchise where he can play the role for a longer period of time.
Holland says that filming is expected to begin in less than a month, but that seems incredibly optimistic for the scale of a blockbuster production such as this one. Nevertheless, casting is a positive sign, and perhaps Sony is tired of dawdling over the franchise. Naughty Dog has no plans to make more Uncharted games (the last one featuring Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, came out back in 2016), and while the brand is still probably strong with gamers, the studio needs awareness beyond that demographic if they’re hoping to make a hit film. Personally, I still believe that even after all these years of development hell, Uncharted will limp to an underperforming weekend and there will never be a sequel. Fans will blame the lack of Nathan Fillion in the lead role.
Uncharted opens March 5, 2021.