'Uncharted' Movie Won't Copy 'Indiana Jones,' Says Screenwriter

The grappling hook is one of the most significant gameplay elements Added to 'Uncharted 4.'
The grappling hook is one of the most significant gameplay elements Added to 'Uncharted 4.' Naughty Dog

The Uncharted movie has seen its fair share of directors and started over several times over the last five to six years until the film finally landed into the laps of Joe Carnahan and Shawn Levy. With Carnahan taking somewhat of a back seat on Uncharted due to his focus on the long awaited Bad Boys 2 sequel Bad Boys for Life, Shawn Levy will direct Uncharted while working closely with Carnahan.

The film adaptation of Sony Pictures’ Uncharted video game series has seen darker days, but Carnahan and Levy are leading the way and will be working closely with the Uncharted developers at Naughty Dog. With that, Carnahan has made it clear that Uncharted will be its own standalone film, but plans on keeping the creative minds behind the game intact.

The Differences Between Uncharted and Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones and Uncharted revolve around protagonists who are archaeology-savvy adventurers in a similar world searching for lost ancient treasures in lost cities.

But Nathan Drake is not your average adventurer. In fact, he’s the opposite of the heroic Indiana Jones. Drake is an orphan who believes he’s a descendant of Sir Francis Drake and relies on his street smarts as much as he relies on his book smarts to seek his treasure. On the other hand, our hero Indy is a college professor by day and is more interested in preserving the world’s wonders than to seek his own fortune.

Still, the thirst for adventure lies at the heart of both Uncharted and Indiana Jones. Carnahan reassured fans of both Uncharted will have its own personality and a very different sort of protagonist. Steve Weintraub at Collider sat down with Carnahan to hash out some of the concerns between the two franchises,

“I can tell you that Shawn Levy and I sat down last weekend, he has fantastic knowledge. Here’s the thing, Shawn is an incredibly bright, incredibly skilled, talented guy, and you sit with him for five minutes and you know and understand why he has the level of success he’s had. I think he understands, we both have tremendous fondness for [Raiders of the Lost Ark], 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. He and [his sidekick] 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 [dumps journalist Elena Fisher] and it’s interesting. I think it’s gonna be, 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 wanna 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.”

The Importance of Nathan Drake’s Story

After speaking with the director of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Amy Hennig, and voice actor, Nolan North (Drake), Carnahan explained the Uncharted movie will focus on the bigger picture, but also instill important details of Drake’s life. Carnahan plans to include Drake’s lineage, specifically his story about growing up as an orphan and creating a world of his own.

While Uncharted will be its own movie, Carnahan will be keeping major factors of the story for fans,

“Certainly the signet ring. The harvest magnet, the whole Francis Drake legend, and his parentage, his lineage. I thought that was important. You’re dealing with a guy who’s an orphan, and I came at it that way—what’s some of the things that are important to someone who’s an orphan? In the fourth game they dispelled all that, but I thought it’s still kind of an interesting. What excuses would you make about your character if you held to this notion that you were the heir to this great explorer? Your ancestor’s this great dubious, nefarious explorer? If you believed somehow that was your birthright. Were you conning yourself? There’s some interesting character stuff you can do there. That and the insane, the big action stuff. I kept some characters I like and kind of reset them within that world so there’ll be names and familiar faces and so on, but they won’t necessarily be what they were in the game, which I think is important, you have to do that, create amalgams. I can’t imagine fans of Uncharted will be unhappy, at least with the screenplay. And I do think there’s some interesting, again, anti-Indiana Jones stuff going on, looting and pillaging these UNESCO sites and world heritage sites and also these uncharted realms. There’s 3 million shipwrecks all over the world that have never been seen. That to me is fascinating. So there’s a lot of that stuff, and a lot of that’s kinda new and improved, for lack of a better phrase. I think people will dig it, but I can’t imagine. But I’m sure someone’ll hate my guts, but that’s okay, a lot of people hate my guts.”

Casting will also play a big factor obviously, but Carnahan explains there’s more to who looks the part. A few names have had some mention, such as Nathan Fillion and even Mark Wahlberg. Levy and Carnahan have discussed a couple of guys, but there is no mention of who the part is going to, not even close. There are a lot of moving parts to consider since the Uncharted series takes place during different parts of Drake’s life at different ages as well.

The audience is the toughest judge of them all and movies based off of books or comics have fallen short one too many times. Carnahan is well aware of this and believes telling a story that can stand on its own is the solution.

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