Notoriously intense* director David O. Russell (THE FIGHTER) has left the high-profile movie adaptation of the best-selling video game UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE.
Phew. That was close.
While I’ve enjoyed much of the director’s output his hiring was always somewhat of a mystery to me, and no doubt the UNCHARTED community themselves. I can’t imagine this famously controlling director having much respect for the material.
These stories are huge, fun, fast paced action extravaganzas starring a wisecracking treasure hunter in the vein of Indiana Jones. David O. Russell makes small, maudlin, navel gazing social commentaries starring Mark Whalberg. His hiring is up there with getting Ang Lee to direct, say, a HULK movie.
O. Russell didn’t exactly go out of his way to appease the doubters either, immediately dismissing the casting possibility of fan-favourite Nathan Fillion (FIREFLY) who openly put himself out there in a bid to land the role of hero Nathan Drake, rallying his followers on Twitter to campaign for him. This wasn’t just the desperate act of a B-lister needing to put bread on the table, Fillion is a self-confessed fan of the series, and, more importantly, pretty much ‘is’ Nathan Drake. The characters share not only looks, but also attitude, sense of humour, and balls - in the metaphorical sense of course (I can’t rightly say I’ve compared either gentleman’s testicles. Though I’m sure they’ll be uncannily similar also.)
O. Russell pulled a ‘Fillion-who?’ (literally) and immediately cast, you guessed it, Mark Whalberg instead. Sure, Whalberg’s done some good movies, but his acting ability is wildly inconsistent. His performance in 2008’s THE HAPPENING is hands down one of the worst I’ve ever seen (though to be fair it seems everybody had an off-day on that gig.) O. Russell also announced that he wanted Robert Deniro and Joe Pesci to play Drake’s father and uncle, provoking further head-scratching from UNCHARTED fans the world over who couldn’t recall ever having met Drake’s father and uncle. Remember my doubting his respect for the material?
So, in summary, is it safe to assume no David O. Russell, no Whalberg? Probably. Told you it was good news!
With Sony having to start fresh with the project, it has a fighting chance at doing the source matrerial justice.
Expect the first in the franchise, UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE, to hit summer 2013.
*Intense? How so? Take a look at this.
Who would you like to see in the director’s chair now O. Russell’s vacated it? And is there anyone more suited than Fillion for Drake? Let us know with your comments below!