Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann spoke with director Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane, Black Mirror) at the DICE Summit 2018, and in their conversation Druckmann gave his thoughts on what he wants and doesn’t want to see in the Uncharted and The Last of Us film adaptations currently in development.
Regarding the Uncharted movie’s planned direction of being an origin story for the protagonist Nathan Drake, Druckmann said (via ScreenRant):
“The Uncharted movie, yeah, we’ve had some conversations with Shawn Levy. And he’s really passionate, gets it, and I think he understands where we’re at. We’ve kind of evolved our feelings towards these kind of adaptations over the years. We used to just be excited, ‘Oh, my god, movies are looking at us. There could be an Uncharted movie on the screen.’ And then as more time passes on, we’re not excited about a direct adaptation of the story we told, because we feel like we’ve already told that story very well, cinematically, so I don’t know what else you could bring to it. … [Shawn Levy] wanting to tell a different story than the main four adventures – with potentially a young Nathan Drake, that fills in the gaps – I think is a lot more interesting than trying to retell Uncharted 1, 2, 3, and 4.”
Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Captain America: Civil War) is currently set to play the role of a young Nathan Drake, with Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) helming the production.
And as for The Last of Us movie script, Druckmann said:
“…And even I worked on the script for The Last of Us film, which was a direct adaptation. And now, having some separation from it, I look back and [am] like, ‘I don’t want that movie to be made.’”
Despite his apprehension with a one-to-one retelling of the video game’s story, Druckman did express more interest in seeing a movie that takes place in The Last of Us‘ world but tells an altogether different narrative with a different cast of characters.
“Maybe there’s something that could be done in the world, either focusing on other characters or other time. But, for me, and I know for Naughty Dog and for a lot of our fans, Nolan North is Nathan Drake, Ashley Johnson is Ellie, Troy Baker is Joel. And it would be very disorienting to see someone else in that role.”
Naughty Dog’s games have been praised for their cinematic storytelling, so it has always seemed obvious that movie adaptations would happen. The Last of Us film fell into development hell back in 2016. Perhaps a new vision for the script might just be the jump start it needs. And as for the Uncharted movie, fresh-faced Tom Holland as the lead in a plot that both series fans and the average moviegoer can enjoy might just be the formula for a true video game-based blockbuster.