Movies based on popular video games have a history of being pretty terrible. Trying to get the balance just right between appealing to an audience who doesn’t play video games whilst trying to stay true to the fans is hard to get right, and often times the films are either mediocre or just down right bad.
The Uncharted games are well known for being similar to Summer blockbusters for their swashbuckling action and cinematic feel. It’s no surprise that ever since the first Uncharted game, there has been an ongoing effort to adapt the game series to the big screen.
Whilst doing a Q&A at Metrocon, the voice actor of Nathan Drake, Nolan North discussed the troubled Uncharted movie and made it clear he’s just as concerned the movie won’t do the games justice as all the fans.
When asked about the film, North said: “I don’t know when they are going to get to it. That movie has been on ice for almost ten years. And they kept switching writers…apparently they have a good script. A couple of [scripts] before them – which I wasn’t supposed to read but somebody got me to read them – and they weren’t anything like [Uncharted]. I mean there were versions of that script that wasn’t Uncharted. It was basically like a heist movie and they said we will just ride the Uncharted name.”
“I think it’s hard [to make an Uncharted movie] because with the technology we have, we have already made four movies. But I think they are going to be true to the first game,” he added.
When asked what he thinks about the rumors that actor Mark Wahlberg might be portraying Nathan Drake, North expressed concern, saying:
“Mark Wahlberg is about my age, so it’s like ‘eh’. I don’t know how many sequels you are going to get. Are you not planning for sequels? That means you are not planning it very good that means the script is kinda weak. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
North also discussed Amy Hennig’s involvement with the scripts. Hennig was the writer for the first three Uncharted games but she was restricted to a ‘non-paid consultant’ when it came to the movie script. North said:
“They hired [Amy Hennig] as a “consultant”, a non-paid consultant. She is a better writer than that but she doesn’t have that Hollywood name. It’s the reason I can never play Nathan Drake. Because you put Mark Wahlberg in a movie, they have numbers on how many tickets he will sell in Europe. That’s what they do, they get their numbers for overseas, they know they are getting their investment back overseas. So now, everything domestic is all profit. It’s all money, it’s all it is. And I have talked with executives and they were like ‘we know you can do it’, but you know…”
North also revealed that he has been offered a cameo in the Uncharted movie, should it ever start filming, but North said he hopes to have a more meaningful role rather than only to appear for a few seconds as a nod to fans.
“You know, I have been approached a while ago to do that. And the one thing I told them was I don’t want to be the ‘where’s Waldo guy’,” he said. “And I don’t want to walk up to him [Mark Wahlberg] and be like ‘your coffee Mr. Drake’. I just don’t want to be a nod…it could be a nod to the fans but I could be one of Drake’s buddies. Maybe the movie has something where he is sitting with some fans and maybe I am one of his pals. Or like the bartender – just give me a scene. I don’t want it to just be like ‘HAI’.”
“I mean I don’t need to be in a movie because ‘Oh I want to be in a movie!’ I have been in movies, I have done that. And here’s the thing, maybe that week I could be doing something else that could push my career forward. You are always looking for the next thing. It’s the hard thing about this career. It’s so much fun but it’s never enough. You could be on the greatest job and you would be like ‘alright, what’s next when this ends?’ Because you are always trying to find your next job while you have one.”
It always tends to be messy when a game is brought to the movie industry and it’s great that Nolan North has talked so openly about how he feels on the subject. It seems there’s a problem with bringing video game characters to the big screen because fans will always have a hard time accepting someone new portraying beloved characters. Eventually there will have to be a great film based on a video game, and here’s hoping it’s an Uncharted film that breaks the mold.