The Uncharted movie will star Tom Holland as a young Nathan Drake, now reset as a prequel.

News Den of Geek Staff

Jan 23, 2018

Uncharted, an adaptation of the acclaimed, top-selling adventure video game franchise, has been sitting on the movie adaptation backlog of Sony Pictures for several years. Previously circled by a wide and diverse array of would-be stars and directors, it appears that things are finally taking shape for Uncharted, notably with the acquisition of the new face of the film franchise: Tom Holland!

Uncharted Movie News

It’s been a while since anything of substance surfaced about the Uncharted movie. However, prolific producer Charles Roven (Justice League, Wonder Woman, The Dark Knight Trilogy), who is attached to the project, dropped some new details in an interview with Deadline at a Producers Guild of America gathering at which he received a lifetime achievement award.

While star Tom Holland’s Marvel solo debut in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming purposefully avoided yet another retelling of the Wall-Crawler’s origin story, his upcoming effort as Uncharted adventurer Nathan Drake will, by contrast, embrace the origin story concept. Roven explains the film’s chronologically ambiguous connection to the video game mythology, stating:

“We’ve come up with a wonderful origin story but it’s still based on the Uncharted video game. It doesn’t take place during any of the time period of any of the Uncharted video games. It actually takes place when Nathan Drake (who’s the lead of that game) and Sully, I guess you’d call him his surrogate father, were much younger. It’s an origin story that evolves out of the game but is not from the game.”

In a more substantive addendum, Roven also reveals that the Uncharted movie script – last drafted by Joe Carnahan after tenures by David Guggenheim and Eric Warren Singer – has passed into the hands of yet another screenwriter in Rafe Judkins, who is primarily known for television work in episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hemlock Grove, Chuck and My Own Worst Enemy.

Uncharted Movie Cast

A May 2017 report by Deadline revealed that the Uncharted film adaptation of the Naughty Dog Sony PlayStation game series has cast Spider-Man actor Tom Holland to play the role of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. However, the catch is that Holland will play a younger version of the video game series protagonist. Indeed, with Sony’s restart of the film plans comes a major concept change into a prequel. Thus, the previous version of the script – curated by names such as Joe Carnahan, David Guggenheim and Eric Warren Singer – will undergo yet another rewrite by Rafe Judkins before Holland heads to the jungle looking for fortune and glory. As of now, Shawn Levy is still attached as director.

For Holland, this role is yet another fantastic franchise feather in an increasingly filled cap. The young English actor Holland, having come from supporting roles in the 2012 Naomi Watts/Ewan McGregor-starring drama The Impossible and on miniseries Wolf Hall, debuted as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, the centerpiece of a historical multi-studio deal between Marvel Studios and character movie rights holder Sony Pictures (who Holland will again work with on Uncharted).

A stark contrast to previous moodier film iterations by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, Holland’s version of the Wall-Crawler seems to effectively capture the boyish wonder and sarcastic humor manifesting the classic Spider-Man comic books. Consequently, Holland’s Spider-Man performance was said to have inspired Sony Pictures boss Tom Rothman to go back to the drawing board for Uncharted to tap Holland for a prequel, utilizing the same youthful zeal. The new movie concept is reportedly inspired by a sequence in 2011’s Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, which depicted a young Nathan Drake as a thief in his first encounter with Victor “Sully” Sullivan.

Amongst a flood of Holland’s recent high-profile gigs such as In the Heart of the Sea, The Lost City of Z and this December’s historical electricity drama The Current War, is the solo movie debut of his Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming, which hits on July 7. Holland is confirmed to continue his Spider-Man run with 2018 mega-movie Avengers: Infinity War and the 2019 Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel. At this rate, those films will arrive before the Uncharted movie manifests.

Over the years, fans of the video games have gone back and forth over who they’d prefer to see play Drake in a movie version, with Nathan Fillion the hot favorite back in the Drake’s Fortune days and Ex Machina‘s Oscar Isaac now generally being supported as a great choice for the role, too. However, it appears that with the project’s radical reset as a prequel, Spider-Man star Tom Holland will take the role.

Uncharted Movie Release Date

The Uncharted movie has no release date set. It was previously eyed for 2018 after having been pushed back from its previous June 2017 slot.

Uncharted Movie Filming

At one point, My Entertainment World listed the film as firing up in late spring 2017 and Columbia was said to be the place where at least part of the story is set. However, with the script essentially back to the drawing board, it could be some time before the cameras roll.

Uncharted Movie Story

A very short story synopsis for the forthcoming film has also been listed on the site, and here it is:

“A descendant of explorer Sir Francis Drake, a treasure hunter named Nathan Drake believes he has learned the whereabouts of El Dorado, the fabled South American golden city, a cursed golden statue. the search becomes competitive when a rival hunter joins the fray.”

Uncharted Movie Script

Joe Carnahan had finished the script for the film adaptation and was evidently very happy with the draft. However, with the project’s reset as a prequel, Carnahan’s script was destined to either be rewritten or scrapped entirely. Indeed, the latest news of Rafe Judkins’s tenure with the script answered that question.

The Uncharted movie was originally slated for a 2016 release, but the film was delayed indefinitely by Sony. The adaptation has yet to find a starring man to play series hero/mass murderer Nathan Drake. 

Things might start to pull together for the Uncharted movie now that the script is finished, though. Time will tell.

In an interview with Collider, Carnahan talked about the direction the film will be headed. He revealed that he and director Shawn Levy (Real Steel) have been working on the film, and that the pair of them are wary of it being an Indiana Jones clone rather than its own thing.

“I think [Levy] understands, we both have tremendous fondness for Raiders, and he wants to, I think Shawn’s capable of doing a lot of things. I can tell you this: what I’ve written is very anti-Indy in the sense of the guy that loves museums and wants to preserve these artifacts. He’s not! He’s a thief and he’s a grifter, and he’s a scourge,” Carnahan said.

The “he” in question is the main protagonist of the games, Nathan Drake. “He and Sully are not good guys, but they’re better than the bad guys. It’s a game, you know, they’re certainly rogues, and certainly don’t have a problem, even in the first game he just kind of dump Elena and it’s interesting,” Carnahan said.

He also added, “I honestly think this one’s got a real shot. And I was really glad when Shawn came on because I’m too deep into Bad Boys and I really want see that through. Too much sweat equity in that one; years of trying to do Uncharted. I’m flattered that these guys wanted me to write it. It’s a hell of a responsibility and hell of an opportunity and I don’t want to squander it now.”

Carnahan’s commitment to directing Bad Boys 3 is what he was talking about there. Since his comments, the third Bad Boys movie has been delayed and Carnahan has left the film…

One more thing: he also revealed that he’s been talking to some of the people who worked on the video games to try and get the movie right.

“You can’t be so slavish and devoted to the source material,” Carnahan added. “It’s just making a great movie and trying to put as much of the game in as you can.”

The Uncharted movie is now set to land in 2018, with filming commencing next year. The full interview with Collider – that’s really worth a read – is here.

Screenwriter Joe Carnahan spoke to about his recently completed Uncharted film script. His replies were…interesting. 

Carnahan states that he “didn’t spare the rod” when he wrote Uncharted, meaning that he aimed to replicate the full experience of the games. Carnahan seemed especially interested in retaining the swearing spread throughout Uncharted‘s dialog. The interesting thing about that is the fact that there isn’t an unusual amount of swearing in the Uncharted games. 

Yet, it’s clear that Carnahan is interested in ensuring that Uncharted retains the feel of classic R-rated action movies. He cited films like Predator when describing the kind of movie he wants to deliver. Naturally, he also referenced the Indiana Jones films when conveying what appeals to him about Nathan Drake as a character. He sees Drake as a more roguish take on the Jones character who does things that are often not traditionally heroic. 

It’s worth noting that Uncharted does not have an official rating at this time. 

Aside from the cursing and characters, the one area of the game that Jones is especially interested in bringing to film are those incredible Uncharted action sequences. He claims that he wrote “four of the biggest, f***in’ craziest action sequences I think I’ve ever written” somewhere in the Uncharted script. However, he also said that it wasn’t his intention to replicate the action scenes of the games. Instead, he used them as inspiration for spiritually similar sequences.  

Uncharted Movie Director

Shawn Levy (Real Steel) is set to direct the Uncharted movie. The movie has already gone through a couple of directors – David O. Russell, Neil Burger, Seth Gordon, and Sony even considered Joe Carnahan himself, although he’ll be busy with Bad Boys 3.