Joe Carnahan’s ‘Uncharted’ Script Is R-Rated with the “Craziest Action Sequences” Ever

     February 23, 2017


The fan-favorite Uncharted video games are, perhaps surprisingly, rated T for Teens, with the ESRB noting Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, and Violence as descriptors. That rating/content combo might fly in the video game world, but the regulatory body governing movie ratings, the MPAA, is a different beast. That’s why Joe Carnahan‘s script for the Naughty Dog game adaptation needs to aim for an R rating, which is exactly what the screenwriter intended.

CS sat down for a chat with Carnahan, who completed his draft on Uncharted just last month, in order to get a line on the tone of his script. Turns out, fans should expect “foul-mouthed” language and Carnahan’s self-described “fucking craziest action sequences” he’s ever written. Now that sounds more in line with Uncharted than a PG-13 Indiana Jones wannabe.


Image via Sony

Here’s Carnahan’s approach to tackling the script:

When I wrote “Uncharted,” I didn’t spare the rod. I wrote it the way the video game is. They swear in the game, they’re kinda foul-mouthed and I kept all that stuff intact and I definitely didn’t write it as a “PG-13” movie, I wrote it the way that movie should be written.

A great way to distance Uncharted from the Indiana Jones comparison is to make its hero stand apart from the most popular action-movie archaeologist ever. Here are Carnahan’s thoughts on that front:

Listen, I’m a huge Indiana Jones fan, which was one of my interests in it and you have to remember you’ve got Sully as well, so it’s more of a buddy situation than just Drake solo. You have this kind of Hope & Crosby, “Road to Morocco” kind of thing, so it’s not a straight Indy lift. Drake is not a guy who likes museums. He thinks they’re all crooked. Curators are “thieves,” the guys in the Louvre and The Met are thieves and despicable. He’s a treasure hunter, not an archaeologist. He doesn’t have Indiana Jones’ idea of pure faith in archaeology. That’s not the way he thinks. It differentiates, and in the script there are deliberate differentiations. He has a line where he says, “They’re gonna be looking at real booby traps, not rolling boulder bullsh*t.” (laughs) [“Raiders of the Lost Ark”] is still arguably my favorite movie of all-time, but it was necessary to create those distinctions. I think Amy Hennig did it when she wrote the game. She made Drake very much an anti-Indiana Jones, you know? Don’t forget, for that first game after that pirate attack, Drake and Sully leave Elena behind, they dump her. Indiana Jones would never do something like that. That’s a rogue act, so she was declaring very early on who that guy was. He was not Jones, he was not to be confused with that guy.


Image via Naughty Dog

As well known as Uncharted is for its (anti)hero, it’s also renowned for its intense action sequences. Expect that to translate to the big screen:

I probably wrote four of the biggest, f***in’ craziest action sequences I think I’ve ever written in that movie. I used the “Uncharted” games as a template but not using any one specifically, because those sequences have already been done beautifully. There’s no point in just transposing them to film, you’ve gotta come up with new sh*t, so that’s what I did. It was a great challenge but it was a lot of fun.

For more on Uncharted, take a look at some of our recent write-ups on the ongoing action-adventure adaptation:


Image via Naughty Dog

And just for fun, here’s a somewhat hilarious description of the action available in Uncharted, which doesn’t exactly sound like something suitable for the garden variety teenager to be doing:

This is a compilation of three action-adventure games in which players assume the role of Nathan Drake on various adventures to find lost treasure. As players explore international locations and ancient ruins, they use pistols, machine guns, rocket launchers, and grenades to kill various enemies (e.g., mercenaries, soldiers, pirates). Players can also employ melee attacks and stealth takedowns (e.g., choking and neck snapping) to incapacitate enemies. Firefights are highlighted by realistic gunfire, large explosions, and blood-splatter effects. During the course of the game, characters engage in suggestive innuendo (e.g., “So much for foreplay,” “Man interests in climax must be a real hit with the ladies,” and “Oh, is that an ancient Tibetan ritual dagger in your pocket?”). In one scene, a female character straddles Drake on his bed (both fully clothed) then kisses him before the camera pans away. A handful of sequences also depict characters smoking cigars and/or cigarettes. The word “sh*t” and “d*ck” are heard in the dialogue.



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