Image Credit: Landmark/PR PhotosMark Wahlberg essentially confirmed in an interview with MTV News that he will be playing treasure-hunter Nathan Drake in David O. Russell’s (The Fighter) planned film adaptation of Uncharted, based on the acclaimed videogame series for PS3. He also suggested that Russell is courting Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci to play Drake’s father and uncle respectively.
If De Niro and Pesci are indeed signed to the film, that would by default give Uncharted the most prestigious cast ever for a videogame-derived movie — and it already has the most prestigious director! Wahlberg, himself, is no stranger to the genre, having played the title role in the blah bullets-and-bloodbaths spectacle Max Payne in 2008 (a banner year for him, as it also saw the release of that landmark achievement The Happening).
Uncharted, coming from a franchise that launched in 2007 with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, could appeal to a bigger audience than merely those who while away hours each day with a joystick in hand. Like an Indiana Jones adventure, but set in the present, the first Uncharted game enchanted gamers with scruffy Nathan Drake, a descendant of Elizabethan privateer Sir Francis Drake, as he searched for the lost treasure of El Dorado. Kind of like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — but without the aliens. Drake is the kind of charismatic action-hero role actors like Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin would have once fought for, and it could firmly enshrine Wahlberg as an A-List action star. Not to mention that if Russell in fact lands De Niro and Pesci, it could launch gamer films to the big time the way Marlon Brando’s presence in Superman: The Motion Picture legitimized the idea of comic book movies way back in 1978.
But for every silver lining there’s a cloud. We can’t help but feel for Castle star Nathan Fillion, who had launched a Twitter campaign lobbying for the role of Nathan Drake for himself. Few people embody cocky swagger better, and Fillion would have been perfect for the part. But with the Oscar buzz Wahlberg is getting for his role in The Fighter, Sony can’t help but be happy with Russell’s likely choice.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Do you see Wahlberg as Nathan Drake? And would the presence of De Niro and Pesci actually make you want to sit through a videogame movie?