If you'd told us at the beginning of the year that 2010 would see David O. Russell sign on to an adaptation of the Playstation videogame "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune," we'd have nodded politely, and then dismissed everything you had to say after that. But rumors emerged in the summer that Russell, fresh off his comeback film "The Fighter," was circling the project, and he finally signed on last month. Not long after, another crazy rumor surfaced -- that Russell had moved the globetrotting adventure, at least in part, to the world of New York antiques, and that he was seeking Mark Wahlberg, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci to star in the film.
We scoffed -- Russell doing a videogame movie was one thing, but totally overhauling the concept, and casting the "Goodfellas" duo? Please. Except it turns out Roger Friedman, who reported the rumor initially, was pretty much on the money. Wahlberg, who's doing promotion for "The Fighter" at the moment, spoke to MTV (via CHUD) and confirmed that he's set to play the lead role, Nathan Drake, in "Uncharted," saying that "David is one of the best writer/directors I've ever worked with. The idea that he has [for Uncharted] is just insane. So hopefully we'll be making that movie this summer."
Wahlberg and Russell are close friends and collaborators, having worked together on "Three Kings," "I Heart Huckabees" and "The Fighter," so it's always made sense that Wahlberg would be involved here, plus the actor isn't too snobby about this kind of thing, having already led the terrible game adaptation "Max Payne." But the real surprise is that, when asked about the De Niro/Pesci rumors, Wahlberg replied "That's who he wants to write the parts for. I talked to Pesci about it and I know David's people have talked to [Robert De Niro].
Furthermore, Wahlberg also gave away who the actors would play: "The idea of it is so off the charts: De Niro being my father, Pesci being my uncle. It's not going to be the watered-down version, that's for sure." We're not familiar with the games, which revolve around an Indiana Jones-style treasure hunter, but we understand that the central character's family have yet to make an appearance, so it's clear, if it wasn't already, that Russell's going to be marching to the beat of his own drum on this one.
At the same time, even though the original rumors have proven to be mostly correct, we don't think fans should be too worried about the property becoming a NYC antiques-dealing mob picture -- we imagine the film'll still include plenty of jungles, waterfalls, plane crashes, etc., but it may be expanding the origins of Drake a little more. But we've been wrong on every count so far, and can honestly say that we have no idea what Russell's playing at.
Which is kind of exciting. Russell's always gotten the best performances out of Wahlberg, and if the two can land De Niro and Pesci (the latter of whom has only appeared in two films in the last 12 years, this year's "Love Ranch," and the De Niro-helmed "The Good Shepherd"), then that's reason enough to see it. We feared that Russell was simply taking an easy paycheck on this one, and it seems like that's not the case, meaning that this is fast becoming the first videogame adaptation that we could be genuinely excited about.