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'Drake's Fortune' director David O. Russell: Movie will be about family of thieves and global power players

December 1, 2010 |  9:12 am

Drake

Fans of the video game Uncharted: Drake's Fortune have been intrigued since the moment David O. Russell committed to direct the film -- if nothing else, it's a chance for a quirky auteur and surehanded filmmaker to shake up the beleaguered videogame-to-movie genre.

They've also been a little hesitant about how quickly this thing will move forward. Russell, after all, has recently worked at a fairly deliberate pace. (He's completed just one movie since "I Heart Huckabees" came out six years ago, the upcoming boxing dramedy "The Fighter.")

But "Drake's" is apparently rolling along. When we talked with Russell for "The Fighter," (more on that one shortly), he said he's already about halfway done with the script, which dovetails nicely with Sony's and fans' hope for a finished movie pretty quickly. "It's a locomotive," he said of the movie's progress.

While the video game centers on Nate Drake (a descendant of Sir Francis Drake) and his quest to find lost treasure on an island far from civilization, Russell plans on expanding the movie to include Drake's extended family -- and put them in fraught, globetrotting situations with some of the world's most influential people.

"This idea really turns me on that there's a family that's a force to be reckoned with in the world of international art and antiquities ... [a family] that deals with heads of state and heads of museums and metes out justice," he said.

Meanwhile, Mark Wahlberg, the "Fighter" star who will take on the Nate Drake role in this new film, told 24 Frames that he hasn't read what Russell's written yet but had been told extensively about the idea and believes it's a world away from most video-game adaptations. "To me what a lot of those other movies lack is the level of character and heart," he said. (Wahlberg is, of course, no stranger to video game-based movies, having starred in the less-than-well-received "Max Payne.")

Russell has plenty of experience in the character and dysfunctional-family department, notably chronicling the adventures of an unconventional unit in his 1996 hit "Flirting with Disaster," among other pictures. He sees movies like that influencing him on "Drake's."

"We'll have the family dynamic, which we've done in a couple of movies now," he said. "And then you take that and put it on the bigger, more muscular stage of an international action picture, but also put all the character stuff in it. That's a really cool idea to me."

--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: 'Uncharted: Drake's Fortune' video game. Credit: Sony

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