David O. Russell Quits ‘Uncharted’

Here’s something I expect many fans of the Uncharted video games will like: David O. Russell has quit the feature film adaptation of the game, leaving Sony looking for a new director. This is actually the second time we’ve reported that he wouldn’t make Uncharted. It was just over a year ago, in early May 2010, that the possibility he’d direct was reported, but in August we heard that negotiations couldn’t be worked out and he wouldn’t do the film. Then, in October, he was signed to write and direct. This time, the departure  seems like a final decision. What will this do to the cast?

The big question: will he take Mark Wahlberg with him? Possibly, as the actor recently became attached to The Silver Linings Playbook, a film that David O. Russell has had on the back burner for some time. (The film is about “a delusional former high school history teacher who’s just been released into the custody of his mom. Believing that he’s only been away for a few months instead of the four years he just spent in a mental institution, the teacher sets about wooing back his ex-wife.”) When Mark Wahlberg’s interest in The Silver Linings Playbook was reported, Vulture said that it was looking like Russell’s next film, and his departure from Uncharted certainly doesn’t argue against that.

I’m slightly disappointed here, as his version of Uncharted sounded unusual but possibly more interesting than the boilerplate video game adaptation I’d usually expect Sony to turn out. But that disappointment evaporates quickly, because I’d rather see David O. Russell do a film he can really care about, and Uncharted didn’t seem like it would fit that bill.

Meanwhile, fans of the game hated the choice of Mark Wahlberg to play lead character Nathan Drake, and they’ll now be more likely to get a film that hews closer to the source material. Win/win? Possibly, if Sony scraps the David O. Russell script and with it the plans to make an adventure film featuring a heavy family dynamic and characters to be played by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Then again, LiosGate kept his script after Russell left Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as director, so don’t bet just yet that Sony will start from square one. [Variety, Deadline]

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