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Tom Holland wanted to capture the spirit of Nolan North in Uncharted without impersonating him

The two’s time on set was an important moment, according to director Ruben Fleischer

a photo of Nolan North looking at Tom Holland on the beach, on the set of the Uncharted movie Photo: Sony Pictures via Naughty Dog/Twitter

Iconic video game characters are often tied to the voice actors that perform them, and Nolan North’s performance as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted franchise might be one of the strongest bonds. North has voiced the character since the first game in 2007, and Drake’s trademark sarcasm is just as much a product of North’s signature performance as the series’ great writing. And it turns out the star of the Uncharted movie, Tom Holland thinks so too.

Speaking to Polygon, Uncharted director Ruben Fleischer explained how important North’s performance was for the movie, how the voice actor inspired Holland, and what it was like to have the original Nathan Drake on set for the movie.

“Tom, as a huge fan of the games, was really trying to harness the spirit of Nathan Drake that Nolan was responsible for,” Fleischer said. “At the same time, he wasn’t trying to do a Nolan North impression. He wanted to make the character his own.”

For Fleischer, one of things that makes the Uncharted games special is the way they mix globe trotting and treasure hunting with quips and jokes. He likened it to the kind of action adventure movies that he says have mostly disappeared over the last few years, like Pirates of the Caribbean or National Treasure. But while those movies served as inspiration, it was North that provided the blueprint for the movie’s comedy.

“He’s an incredible improviser. He has great instincts,” said Fleischer. “Having Nolan on set was such an incredible experience because he was so generous and excited for this version of the character and telling of the story.”

Thanks to a photo North posted on Twitter, fans knew early on that North spent some time on the set of Uncharted with Holland. But it turns out that this time was more important and meaningful than just a cursory stop.

“He and Tom had a great relationship and filming together was super fun. It was very memorable day in the south of Spain,” said Fleischer. “I think that there was this kind of passing the torch feeling. In watching the two together [...] it felt like Nolan handled the character for the video game version [...] and Tom would be responsible for the film adaptation of the character.”

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