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Joe Carnahan Talks ‘Uncharted’ Live-Action Movie Direction

Uncharted, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Penning the script for the live-action adaptation of the award-winning Playstation game series Uncharted Joe Carnahan (The Grey). There was hopes that he would also direct that film, but due to his commitment to Bad Boys for Life, it isn’t going to happen. Helming the Uncharted film will be Shawn Levy. According to Carnahan, he and Levy are aiming to make Uncharted stand on its own, and not being another Indiana Jones ripoff. In an interview with Collider, Carnahan talks about the direction of the film:

“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, 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.

Uncharted, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment

He and 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 dump Elena 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.”

Carnahan goes on to talk about the fact that video game adaptations have a bad reputation in Hollywood. He says that the shortfall of other video game films is that they are too faithful to the source:

“I think that, it’s gonna need to be something that exceeds the sum of its parts, you know what I’m saying? It just doesn’t function as a straight lift of the video game. I sat down with Amy [Hening, director of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune] and sat down with [Drake voice actor] Nolan North and sat down with Neil [Druckmann, writer of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune], who created this thing, and took them through what I was doing and what I was thinking of and they loved it. She loved it. She understands too that you can’t be so slavish and devoted to the source material.

It’s just making a great movie and trying to put as much of the game in as you can and the sensibilities of making Drake and Sullivan and so on, and beyond that, just do something original and fun. Roll the dice, like we have to do on anything. There are no assurances, and there certainly are very few hedging your bets when it comes to making movies. So I really believe that. Just be original. Do your best. Try to check the boxes you can, but beyond that don’t get wrapped up.”

Uncharted, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Carnahan says that he is shooting for the film to include Drake’s lineage, signet ring, harvest magnet, orphan origins and the entire Francis Drake legend. This is a big for a really ambitious film. Fans of the game series don’t see Uncharted as another Indy ripoff. The film has its hands full, and will have to prove itself all over again.

Production on the film starts next year, and Uncharted is eyeing a 2018 theatrical release.

Brad Repka
I am an avid lover of all things Movies, TV, Games, and delicious other randomness. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave comment!