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No way: David O. Russell now back with 'Drake's Fortune'

October 8, 2010 |  6:09 pm

EXCLUSIVE: There have been so many twists and turns on the "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune" directing saga that it's hard to believe it's really near resolution -- let alone that it's going to be a quirky auteur such as David O. Russell who takes the reins.

But several sources familiar with the director search process say the "Three Kings" filmmaker is now in final negotiations to direct the movie based on on the popular video game. This comes after he had broken off talks and parted ways with producers and studio Sony as recently as August.

The imminent deal means that a man known for the dark comedy of "Flirting With Disaster" and the  grittiness of the upcoming "The Fighter" would take on the effects-driven, action-adventure of the Sony-published "Fortune," in which a descendant of Sir Francis Drake fights his way to treasure and romance on a mysterious island. [Update, Friday 10:38 p.m., Sony has now confirmed that Russell is on board, saying he will write a new draft of the script as well.]

It also means that we would have a new commitment for a director known for an, er, exacting attitude on matters creative; among other examples, you may remember that earlier this year he pulled his name off the troubled production "Nailed."

Russell's schedule is now gaining a little clarity. He recently opted not to pursue the director's chair on the cover-band comedy "Under Cover" with Jim Carrey. Russell does have another development project close to his heart in Vince Vaughn vehicle "Spirit of St. Louis" -- and that one, unlike "Drake's Fortune," is mostly cast.

So "Fortune" may not be his next movie. But Sony is keen on the "Fortune" script, penned by the writers who worked on "Cowboys & Aliens." And the studio could use a big  2012 release, especially one in the vein of "Pirates of the Caribbean." Let the auteur-goes-tentpole stories begin (again).

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: The video game of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment


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Comments () | Archives (9)

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this is great news!
Nathan Fillion should definitely be cast as Nathan Drake.

This strikes me as a bad idea. The Uncharted video games are terrifically well done. But the story and characters that are dandy for a game would seem flat and hopelessly cliched in a movie. Nathan Drake, Chloe, and Elena don't exactly suggest hidden depths to them--though each is very cool within the game itself. Hasn't anybody learned anything from the "Prince of Persia" disaster?

I thought I'd read somewhere that Hugh Jackman was being considered for the lead? But that fell through? If this has to sit alongside 'Pirates of the Carribean III' in Summer 2012, then I imagine casting would be seeking out some big name. Hopefully, someone who projects character and experience, and isn't just muscles with the ability to do a few stunts.

Currently there's much online activity from the fans of Nathan Fillion and Joe Flanigan, both more TV stars than movie, to fill this role. I'm personally rooting for Joe. I see him playing the rugged action hero with the dry humour. Oh, and he can act pretty well too! I'm confident that he'd make your Hugh Jackman substitute, but realistically know that's asking someone, somewhere, to take a very big chance...

I believe that with the right script and cast, this could be a good film. I would love to see Joe Flanigan given the opportunity to shine in the leading role. He has the charisma, talent and humour to bring Nathan Drake to life. He isn't exactly a household name right now, but a film like this could change that overnight.

I think Joe Flanigan (of Stargate Atlantis), would be perfect for this role!

If they are willing to take a chance with a television actor I'd certainly go with Joe Flanigan, I immediately thought of him when I saw clips of the game. Nathan F would be a good choice too.

However, I'm afraid they are going to want a "name" movie actor in his 20's, which neither Joe nor Nathan are. :(

So did some research before commenting on this. Checked out about 20 minutes of a variety of clips of Uncharted to check out what kind of character this Nathan Drake was. If they want the audience to believe the story they need someone a bit older and weathered. He seems to be a down and dirty kind of guy who is a little ragged around the edges, not some suave, sophisticated James Bond type. The man talks about a Pakistani prison like he knows what it's like and shoots weapons like a pro. So, unless he is ex-military, he needs to have been around the block a time or two, or it's just not believable. So, really, no one under the age of 35.
I also don't think a well known actor would be a good idea since they will come with too many preconceived ideas of who they are. Someone who can BECOME Nathan Drake would be better. If they want big name stars, fill in the other characters of Sully and Elena with big names. Elena struck me as a young Meg Ryan type, but Kate Hudson would probably be good, cute but feisty.
As for the Fillion/Flanigan debate, I had to find out who Fillion was first. Oh, the guy from Castle. Heard good things about him, never really seen him in anything though. So I watched some eps of Firefly and Castle and some interviews with the actor. While Fillion looks the part I think he is almost TOO suave to fit the bill. Drake seemed to be a bit edgier. And comparing acting skills and interviews I found Flanigan to be the more likable, interesting persona. He can deliver emotions and meaning with a single look. He is in excellent physical shape where Fillion looked like he'd put on a few pounds since doing Firefly. And Flanigan has the action/adventure thing down pat while having the edgier feel but still being extremely good looking.
The real question is, what will the people in charge do? I hope they don't try and stuff a well-known star down our throats and make us try and accept him as Drake. Get someone with the ability to BECOME Drake. So if they give us Joe Flanigan, I would definitely go see this movie.

Joe Flanigan *is* Nathan Drake. He's the only logical choice for the role.

Joe Flanigan should definitely be cast as Nathan Drake.


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