David O. Russell has been fighting a losing battle ever since he started sharing the ideas he had for his upcoming Uncharted film adaptation. Over the course of his awards campaign for The Fighter, Russell has made some interesting casting choices and made it quite clear that this planned movie of his will not be Drake’s Fortune in film form.
While speaking to David Chen of /Film, Russell explains that he himself is not a gamer, but his son is, and it is through watching his son play games, and meeting some of Naughty Dog’s key creative people that Russell has come to understand what Uncharted is all about.
Though this is hardly enough to prove that Russell truly grasps what makes Uncharted a game of the year, what he has to say about turning the video game into a film is interesting, to say the least.
“My son plays most of the games in our house, and I will play them with him but I’m not hardcore. I’m not going to present myself as hardcore. But I played the game a bunch of times and I also read as much as I could about the game and I met the game’s creator, Amy Hennig, who’s really cool. I started to brew together what I thought could be a really cool idea that I’d never seen in a film before. Really intense action and really intense family dynamics on a global stage. To grow a game into a movie is an interesting proposition because a game is a very different experience than a movie. You guys are playing the game, and it’s about playing the game. It’s not about a narrative embracing you emotionally. You know what I’m saying? So, I want to create a world that is worthy of a really great film that people want to watch and rewatch, so that’s what I’m working on right now.”
Russell’s comments don’t necessarily mean that he is unable to grasp the concept of Uncharted, but actually could be the first sign that the director might get something right. As relationships go in video games, one would be hard pressed to find a more tight knit, yet comedically at odds, duo than Sully and Nathan Drake.
While the two have, so far, had each other’s backs, they sometimes end up disagreeing much like one would do with… that’s right, a family member. Perhaps the family dynamic to which Russell is referring is the relationship between Drake and Sully. Though that relationship might take on new dynamics, especially with the casting of Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, two notoriously chummy actors, in the movie, it still can resemble what is seen in the game, in one form or another.
Furthermore, Russell stating that he wishes to create a film that the audience comes back to again and again because of their emotionally connection does hold promise for the film. First and foremost, the general movie-going public — the key demographic for the film version of Uncharted — want an experience that engages them on many levels, and if Russell can deliver that, he will have succeeded.
While his success might not be the type that gamers were expecting out of an Uncharted film, but really since the casting of Mark Wahlberg and the shunning of the obvious Nathan Fillion, it didn’t look like this Uncharted movie was ever going to satisfy fans. The real victory that could be had out of this experience is one for film adaptations of video games. If Russell can deliver a solid film, one that opens the door to future, more faithful adaptations, you’d be hard pressed to find a gamer who didn’t admire him in some way.
Do you think that Russell’s talk of a family dynamic in Uncharted refers to the relationship between Sully and Drake or do you see it being reflected through the DeNiro/Pesci/Wahlberg characters? Is there any way Russell is going to win back the favor of fans?