UPDATE 1: Edit appears at the end of this article regarding our latest thoughts on this story and what we’re hearing from industry sources.
The announcement that all fans of the UNCHARTED franchise have been waiting for (other than the big UNCHARTED 3 one, of course) seems to have been pre-empted by one Mr. Mark Wahlberg. You will remember that it was rumoured that he would be teaming up with David O. Russell to play our hero, Nathan Drake in the upcoming movie based upon Drake’s Fortune? Well, it has been firmly suggested in an interview with the actor that the rumours are in fact true. It seems, faithful reader, that Mark Wahlberg has been cast as Nathan Drake.
Several sources across the internet point to the interview, in which Mark Wahlberg says “hopefully we will be making the movie this summer” referring to himself and writer/director David Russell. Wahlberg claims that “The idea he has is just insane[…]It is not going to be the watered down version; that’s for sure.” Having worked together in the past the news maybe should not be so shocking.
We’ve embedded the video of that interview below.
Natey Nate and the Funky Bunch?
While the apparent news that “Marky Mark” is Nathan will come as a surprise to many (fans had previously hoped for Nathan Fillion and Joe Flanigan, among other likely candidates to play the role) what seems even more startling is the apparent creation of two new characters. Wahlberg informs us that Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci are to be approached by Russell, of which those familiar with the rumour will be aware. However, what is intriguing is that Wahlberg claims that Russell is to write the parts of Nathan’s father and uncle for De Niro and Pesci (respectively). We have never met any family members of Nate’s yet, and therefore their apparent inclusion causes concern.
Why create two new characters in an existing plot? There are several possibilities, the first being that Marky Mark has not done sufficient research as yet, and has seen the faces of Sully (and at a stretch Gabriel Roman) and assumed the familial connection. Another possibility is that the film isn’t Drake’s Fortune after all, but another story about the life and times of Nathan Drake. This seems to be unlikely, though, as it has already been all but confirmed that the film will follow the events of the first game. On the other hand, it was reported that Russell saw little in the game other than “a name and a concept” so anything could be up for revision. The final possibility that I see is that Russell is just making stuff up.
The reaction to the news seems to be mostly one of surprise, mixed with a little bit of distaste, but I think we should give Mark Wahlberg a chance to show us what he can make of the character. He may not have been brought up in many discussions about who should or should not fill the boots of Drake, but it looks like it will be him, and there is not much anyone can do to change that.
We’ve reached out to Sony Pictures to get a statement but have yet to get a response. Stay tuned for more news.
UPDATE 1 [5pm EST, 11/24/10]: Industry sources are telling us that because a screenplay has not been submitted to the studio yet, the film has yet to officially enter the “development” stage. As such, it has not been greenlit, has not gotten a budget and casting has not begun. Any casting discussion is pure speculation. Articles using the word “confirmed” are specifically speaking to Mr. Walhberg’s interview (since there is no official statement from the studio), and may have just been a misspeak. Our opinion is that Mr. Wahlberg was caught off-guard in the interview and was speaking based on his wishes for the project. This isn’t uncommon when doing promotional interviews for a project with the same director; Mark Walhberg stars in David O. Russell’s upcoming film, The Fighter, also starring Christian Bale). Our final thought: keep your campaigns going for your favorite actors, friends, there’s lots of time.
What are your thoughts about Mark’s interview and surprising revelation? Let us know in the comments below!