The development on a live-action cinematic take on the video game franchise Uncharted has quite the history. Originally, David O. Russell was set to direct with Mark Wahlberg starring as the franchise lead Nathan Drake. Russell left and then Neil Burger was announced to direct. Rewrites and drafts were done even after Burger also left. The more recent news was Joe Carnahan writing a draft in 2016 that Shawn Levy would have directed. Wahlberg was set to star throughout it all but in 2017 informed everyone he was no longer attached to star.
While Levy was still set to direct, Carnahan’s script was being reworked recently by Rafe Judkins around the time it was announced that Spider-Man actor Tom Holland would play a younger version of Nathan Drake that would take place before the events of the popular video game series. That hasn’t been very well-received by fans, especially the prequel concept. In fact, Holland was the one who claims to have come up with the idea and pitched it to Sony, the studio behind the adaptation. Course…this is Sony we’re talking about. The ones who ran Spider-Man into the ground not once, but twice (Holland is currently the third actor playing the character in just over 15 years).
Anyway, back to why fans haven’t been receptive is because only one actor has ever been seriously considered as the right man to play the one-line spewing goofball action hero with a million-dollar thieving grin. Firefly and Castle actor Nathan Fillion. He not only resembles the character physically but he’s also noted for carrying a similar persona as Nathan Drake in most of his body of work. Essentially he’s the Ryan Reynolds/Deadpool equivalent when it comes to Nathan Drake. He was born to play the character. Sadly, this is where you get an idea of how disconnected studios are from their audience.
Back when Russell was set to direct, he was asked about whether he might cast Fillion given huge audience demand for him. Without even thinking, Russell quickly dismissed the idea, saying he’d never even heard of Fillion. And then it was pretty clear early on they had no idea what made the story great. In the video games, Nathan Drake’s backstory is he is actually an orphan who, at an early age, is found and then raised by an old thief nicknamed “Sully” into the master treasure hunter he is in the present. Sadly, that didn’t seem to be where the story was going as Wahlberg said early on one of the drafts the following information:
I’m obviously in whatever David wants to do but the idea of it is so off the charts: De Niro being my father, Pesci being my uncle. It’s not going to be the watered-down version, that’s for sure.
Okay…so we’re probably all glad that didn’t happen. But even worse, as if to really show Sony how much they are about to mess up this potential franchise that was inspired by the Indiana Jones film franchise, Fillion himself decided to finally play the character in a 15-minute fan film directed by Allan Ungar. That film has been released today and it’s 15-minutes of perfection. As if plucked from the video games, the short film shows that Fillion will always be the right choice for the character. The film also features Stephen Lang as Sully and Geno Seger as the villain of the film. Check it out below:
Couple things to keep in mind. This was a short film that Fillion probably didn’t even have the usual pre-production length for of a big budget film to prepare for the role and already has the character near down pat (Minus a couple misses of the character’s little eccentricities). And the film also captures many of the trademark shots and looks of the video game.
Whether this is Fillion’s way of pulling what Ryan Reynolds did with that Deadpool VFX reel that got the Merc with the Mouth the franchise he deserved or Fillion simply wanted to finally give fans what they wanted for years, it’s clear that Sony is about to make a huge mistake. You never know. A release date still hasn’t been announced for the movie and with Holland wrapped up with the Spider-Man films it wouldn’t be hard to believe that the current film-in-the-works doesn’t happen. But, at least we got an idea of what we could have gotten. For some that will never be enough, for others it will do. Stay tuned!