Sony has been struggling for years to adapt UNCHARTED. They clearly have no idea what to do with it, which is a little sad when you consider that it’s basically just “Indiana Jones: The Video Game”. Protagonist Nathan Drake is a roguish treasure hunter with incredible dexterity who goes to various locales around the world seeking a fabled artifact. He’s close with his mentor Victor “Sully” Sullivan and journalist Elena Fisher. This is not some impossible, convoluted text. It’s a video game, and yet we’ve been reporting on various iterations of it since 2010.
When we last reported on Uncharted, Joe Carnahan (THE GREY) was writing a screenplay for Shawn Levy (‘Stranger Things’) to direct. But now Deadline reports that the studio is taking things in a radically different direction. Sony head Tom Rothman is apparently so enamored with the latest cut of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING that they want to build the Uncharted franchise around Tom Holland. That means hiring a new screenwriter to pen a script that will follow a young Nathan Drake. The movie will “take its inspiration from a sequence in the third iteration of the video game that focused on the young thief Drake, and his first encounter with the professional rogue, Sullivan.”
It seems like Sony is betting big on Holland’s power to draw an audience and yet completely ignorant of the fact that stars don’t create hits anymore. IP does, and fans of those properties demand particular things. I’m not sure how you win over a single Uncharted fan by saying, “Hey, you know that character you love and have followed throughout four games? Well we’re going to make a movie about him as a teenager.” It’s also saying to non-fans of the games, “Hey, here’s a character you don’t know and don’t care about, but here’s a movie about him as a teenager.”
So you’ve got a movie that alienates the fans of the game while hoping that people like SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING enough that they’ll see Holland in whatever he does next, which seems like a serious miscalculation when people won’t even see Brad Pitt in whatever he does next.