The forthcoming Uncharted film, adapted from the mega-popular PlayStation/Naughty Dog video game franchise, has seen more puzzling twists and turns than, well, a level from Uncharted. Directors dropped, directors replaced, release dates pushed. But through it all, we’ve had one constant: Tom Holland, best known as the MCU’s Spider-Man, cast in the lead role as Nathan Drake, an Indiana Jones-esque treasure hunter voiced through the video game franchise by Nolan North. I’m a fan of the video games. And I must be honest with you, dear reader: I have always felt as though Holland is simply too young for the role. But now, thanks to some intel the actor gave to IGN, I see that may be the point.
Holland revealed the narrative thrust of the movie adaptation. Rather than retelling one of the games’ storylines (four in the main timeline, a handful of spin-offs), this Uncharted will give us a Nathan Drake origin story — which Holland believes will nip an oft-seen problem in video game films in the bud.
I think what Uncharted offers that most video games films don’t is that it’s an origin story to the games. So if you played the games, you haven’t seen what’s going to happen in the film. And if you haven’t played the games, you’re going to enjoy the film because it’s information that everyone else is getting at the same time. But I’m super excited to make that movie and it’s been a long time coming.
Holland makes a good point — it certainly frees the creative team (director Ruben Fleischer and screenwriters Joe Carnahan and Rafe Judkins) up from any plot-driven “adaption accuracy anxiety” from the passionate fanbase (though they’ll still have to deal with “That’s not our Nathan Drake!” tweets, I’m sure), and certainly allows a general audience a clean entrypoint. Plus, it justifies the youngness of Holland, as this looks to be an earlier point in Nathan Drake’s life, when he would be younger.
Know who else is younger than the character they’re playing? Mark Wahlberg, cast as Drake’s mentor Sully (played with Big Grizzled Energy in the games by Richard McGonagle). The “origin story” of it all explains his relative youngness, too, and Holland has nothing but praise for his co-star, saying “I think Mark Wahlberg’s going to kill it as Sully and it’s going to be a lot of fun.” Holland also praised the Carnahan/Judkins screenplay, saying, “I read the newest draft of the script on the way over here and it’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. It really, really jumps off the page.” All of Holland’s words do certainly seem to solve the issues I’ve been having with the forthcoming adaptation of one of my favorite franchises, and put in a place of… let’s call it “cautious optimism.”
For more from Carnahan, check out our interview with him after an exclusive screening of his upcoming Boss Level. And check out our ranking of every video game movie.