Shawn Levy hopes to make Nathan Drake a new generation’s Indiana Jones. The director behind Uncharted, the Hollywood adaptation of the popular video game franchise, has been working on the project with screenwriter Joe Carnahan — and, if all goes as planned, the duo will have “an Indiana Jones-type franchise” for an audience that “didn’t grow up on Indiana Jones.”
During an interview with Nerdist, Levy discussed his vision for the film and what struck him about the game series. “For me, it was the fact that the game is awesome — the spirit of the game, with its action set pieces, its imaginative settings, and above all the kind of rogue swagger of Nathan. Those are things that I think make for a great movie.”
Nathan, to be played in the film by Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s Tom Holland, isn’t like Harrison Ford’s adventuring archaeologist. Gamers know the character more as a thrill-seeking, headstrong tomb raider with an attitude. Levy noted how “straight adaptations of games” don’t seem to succeed, so the big “aha moment” for him came during discussions with Holland.
“He kind of put it really succinctly in saying, if we do the origin of Drake — Tom Holland as younger Drake — that is something that we haven’t seen as the plot of game 1, 2, 3, 4,” Levy said. “We’ve seen a snippet of an origin of Sully and Drake meeting in the past, but here’s maybe an opportunity to do a treasure-hunting action movie with attitude, with a protagonist and chapter of the protagonist’s life that you can’t get for free at home by just playing the game.”
He explained the film is about taking “the spirit and the tone and the attitude of the game,” including “the crazy, visual spectacle of it,” and bring them to “this Drake chapter that you haven’t seen told.”
Listen to Levy’s update on the film beginning at the 22:26 mark of the video below.
The first four installments of the game series focused on Nathan, who’s grappled with mercenaries, warlords, ancient booby traps, and villainous billionaires in search of long-lost wonders. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which received rave reviews, came out in May 2016. Now a new spin-off story focusing on two fan favorites, Chloe and Nadine, is about to be released this Aug. 22 with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
Carnahan previously told Collider of the Uncharted movie script, “What I’ve written is very anti-Indy in the sense of the guy that loves museums and wants to preserve these artifacts. He’s not! He’s a thief and he’s a grifter, and he’s a scourge. He and Sully are not good guys but they’re better than the bad guys.”
Uncharted is currently hunting for a new release window after Sony Pictures pulled the June 2017 date.