A genuinely great feature film adaptation of a video game has still yet to be accomplished, but not for lack of trying. Warner Bros. is giving it a shot with next month’s Tomb Raider, and studios are still trying to work out how best to translate the stories of popular video games into compelling feature films. Most of these adaptations, like Warcraft, go through an incredibly long development process with the studios behind the video games. They understandably feel a sense of ownership over the property, and want to ensure the final product doesn’t infringe upon the brand they’ve built up.
That’s certainly the case with Naughty Dog, which has been developing an Uncharted movie and a The Last of Us movie for a long, long time now. Uncharted seems like it’s finally heating up, as actor Tom Holland came up with the idea of telling the story of a young Nathan Drake. Last we heard Joe Carnahan had crafted a script and filmmaker and Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy was onboard to direct.
Speaking at DICE Summit 2018 (via ScreenRant), Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann explains how this Young Nathan Drake take exemplifies the studio’s evolved thinking on how best to turn these games into movies:
“The Uncharted movie, yeah, we’ve had some conversations with Shawn Levy. And he’s really passionate, gets it, and I think he understands where we’re at. We’ve kind of evolved our feelings towards these kind of adaptations over the years. We used to just be excited, ‘Oh, my god, movies are looking at us. There could be an Uncharted movie on the screen.’ And then as more time passes on, we’re not excited about a direct adaptation of the story we told, because we feel like we’ve already told that story very well, cinematically, so I don’t know what else you could bring to it. … [Shawn Levy] wanting to tell a different story than the main four adventures – with potentially a young Nathan Drake, that fills in the gaps – I think is a lot more interesting than trying to retell Uncharted 1, 2, 3, and 4.”
That certainly makes sense, but it also sounds like the Uncharted movie is not exactly a done deal just yet. Given the many stops and starts on this project I wouldn’t guarantee anything until cameras are actually rolling, and with Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 likely to start filming sometime this year, Holland may be unavailable to even shoot Uncharted until 2019 or so.