Carnahan Talks His “Uncharted” Film Plans

“The Grey” director Joe Carnahan was an unexpected but very welcome pick to pen the film adaptation Sony’s “Uncharted” game series, and the hope was he would be able to direct the high-adventure tale as well.

That sadly wasn’t the case with Carnahan’s “Bad Boys For Life” commitments set to keep him from helming it. Instead, we’re getting Shawn Levy taking over as director. Carnahan tells Collider the pair of them very much want to make this its own thing as opposed to being just an “Indiana Jones” clone:

“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.

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 says he’s also well aware of the negative association with film adaptations of video games and slams previous films for being too faithful to the source material:

“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.”

He adds that he aims to include Drake’s lineage, orphan origins, signet ring, harvest magnet, and the whole Francis Drake legend. Production kicks off early next year for a 2018 release.