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Uncharted film will ‘cut loose’ from source material, says writer

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Doesn’t want to repeat Zack Snyder’s mistake with Watchmen

Naughty Dog

The movie adaptation of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted franchise has been rocky since it was first announced eight years ago, but writer Joe Carnahan says things are looking stronger than ever for what he’s calling the “anti-Indiana Jones” movie.

Carnahan sat down with Collider to discuss the movie at length, acknowledging some of the concerns that fans of the franchise have raised about the film including how much from the game would make it into the final cut. Carnahan said they sat down with Naughty Dog’s creative director Neil Druckman, former game director and writer Amy Hennig and voice actor Nolan North to discuss what the adaptation would look like.

“I think that, it’s gonna need to be something that exceeds the sum of its parts, you know what I’m saying,” Carnahan told Collider. “It just doesn’t function as a straight lift of the video game.”

Carnahan compared what they were trying to do to Zack Snyder’s 2009 film, Watchmen. Carnahan said that while he enjoyed it, the film suffered from trying to remain too close to the source material. He added that Snyder could have made a great film if he wasn’t worried about trying to check off all of the boxes that fans were going to be looking for in the movie. According to Carnahan, the fanboys that Hollywood is trying to desperately impress aren’t as important as the industry thinks and Uncharted isn’t going to try to appease every single fan.

And I’m a big believer that the fanboy element or the fan lobbies are massively overrepresented in Hollywood and don’t have nearly the lobbying power that we think they do,” he said. “...you can’t be so slavish and devoted to the source material.”

In terms of what will actually be included in the movie, Carnahan said there are elements of the franchise that can’t be ignored. The signet ring, harvest magnet, Drake’s parentage and lineage will all be addressed in the movie. As far as characters are concerned, Carnahan said that the film will focus mostly on Sully and Drake’s relationship, but others will be included.

The other aspect of the film that Carnahan wanted to talk about was the speculation going around online that the Uncharted movie would just be an Indiana Jones rip-off. Carnahan said that he was vehemently opposed to the idea because he thought of Nathan Drake as the anti-Indiana Jones. He said what he’s written is “anti-Indy,” adding that both Sully and Drake are grifters and thieves, not good guys. It wouldn’t make sense, Carnahan said, to make them out to be good guys like Indiana Jones when they’re not.

Sony recently announced Shawn Levy (Real Steel, Night at the Museum) had joined the project as its new director. The film does not have a release date at this time.