Work on the Uncharted and The Last of Us movies continues to stop and start at varying intervals, but Naughty Dog Creative Director Neil Druckmann is starting to rethink his own stance on what it means for films to be made out of these games. Speaking with Dan Trachtenberg at a talk during DICE Summit last week, Druckmann made it clear that he doesn’t support direct film adaptations of Naughty Dog games.
“We used to just be excited – ‘Oh my god, movies are looking at us’ – but then as more time passes on we’re not excited about a direct adaptation because we’ve already told that story very well cinematically,” Druckmann says of Uncharted and The Last of Us. He had originally worked on the script for The Last of Us film, but now indicates he doesn’t want that movie to be made. His biggest hangup is recasting characters and retelling a story that they have already told in a cinematic way.
“For me and a lot of our fans Nolan North is Nathan Drake. Ashley Johnson is Ellie. Troy Baker is Joel. It would be very disorienting to see someone else in that role,” Druckmann continues by saying it would be like making a Breaking Bad film and casting a different actor as Walter White. That’s not to say that he’s completely against the idea of Uncharted or The Last of Us hitting screens in some film or television format. He and Trachtenberg brought up Fargo as a great model for taking an existing franchise and introducing new characters and stories into the fabric of that world.
From the sounds of things, the Uncharted movie telling the story of young Nathan Drake is potentially still on. Druckmann has talked with Stranger Things director Shawn Levy, about the Uncharted movie. “He’s really passionate. He gets it. I think he understands where we’re at. The conversations we’ve had with Shawn, him wanting to tell a story with potentially a young Nathan Drake that fills in some of the gaps of his life, is way more interesting.” Tom Holland of Marvel’s Spider-Man fame has reportedly been cast to play young Drake.
At the DICE Summit, Druckmann also talked about influences for The Last of Us: Part II, and he detailed some of the cut content from Uncharted 4. How would you like to see the Uncharted and The Last of Us films handled? Do you want direct adaptations of the games we’ve played, or should they simply fill out the world with additional characters and stories?