An Open Letter to David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg

David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg:

I’m writing to you today to try to inform you both of the extremely hot water you have found yourselves in surrounding the upcoming Uncharted film that you are writing and acting in respectively. There are things you two need to know in order to keep yourselves from being torn limb from limb by the furious fans that are already prepared to seek vengeance in the event that you butcher their favorite game series’ film adaptation.

I would like you address you, Mr. Russell. At first, your claims about the film in interviews came across to me as pure blasphemy. A crime family that metes out justice and deals with museum heads? What the hell are you thinking?!

I understand that in the Uncharted games we follow Nathan Drake, and we don’t know much about his family aside from the fact that he is a descendent of Sir Francis Drake and that Victor “Sully” Sullivan is a father figure to him. We don’t really know who his actual father is and whether or not he’s alive or dead. If you want to explore that area and give it some clarity, perhaps making Drake’s family a group of expert fortune and artifact hunters who are so good that museum heads or heads of state will come to them in order to retrieve rare and important items, I have some advice for you: Tell the fans.

If you give them some more specifics about the film, they might not go completely nuts, and you may even end up with a film that could sensibly take place before Drake’s Fortune and fit into the Uncharted canon. According to Mr. Wahlberg the script is already written, so why can’t you inform the masses? You also said in your most recent interview that you want fans to trust you, but you’ve given them no real reason to do so yet.

If this isn’t the case, however, and you’re really going to turn Nathan Drake into an organized crime type along the lines of The Sopranos, then I have this to say: Rewrite the script. In no way, shape, or form will fans of the games buy Mark Wahlberg playing Drake in a crime family with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. You might as well just make a video of you burning and pissing on both games and post it on YouTube.

Look, I understand that you want to be original and have this be more than “Uncharted the Movie: Presented by David O. Russell,” but you have to realize that you’re adapting something that thousands, if not millions of people love and enjoy. Stay true to the source material and who the characters are. You’ve said the game is centered around family, but who are you kidding? What family? Nate and Sully are like family, and Nate is chasing after the secrets of his ancestor, but that is nowhere near “centering” around family. Clarify things, or just come clean and say you haven’t played the game at all and know absolutely nothing about it.

Now, Mr. Wahlberg, I’ll address you. I will start by saying that I actually like you as an actor. You did a great job in “The Departed,” I liked your work in “Rock Star,” and you’re being hailed for your role in “The Fighter.” The only problem is that in none of these movies were you a smart-mouthed, sarcastic, young hero. You’ve never played this type of character before, and based on all your other roles, it seems like you can’t. Granted, you’re work on “The Other Guys” was pretty good, but Nathan Drake is another animal entirely. So forgive me if your casting has me wary and many others foaming at the mouth.

For you I offer these words of wisdom: Play the game this time. When you did “Max Payne”, the biggest mistake you made was not playing the game. I know you have a lot of commitments on your hands with your children and career, but Uncharted and Uncharted 2 are not long games. Since you only need to see the game for its plot and get a feel for Nathan Drake, I suggest you just pop the game in and plow through it on easy. It will take you between eight and ten hours at the absolute maximum, so you won’t have to worry about getting addicted and playing 14 hours a day as you listed as the reason why you never played Max Payne.

If you can do this, it will allow you to get closer to the role and make the fans rest at least a little easier knowing that you’re taking this portrayal of one of the biggest modern game characters seriously. It worked for Heath Ledger when he bought a ton of comics as research in order to give his amazing portrayal of The Joker in “The Dark Knight.” So please, for your sake and the sake of the fans, just play the game.

I wish the two of you success with this endeavor, I really do. Uncharted is one of my favorite game series and I want to see the film adaptation succeed, but you’ve given us all a number of reasons to expect the worst and not many reasons to trust you. If you can open up to the fans and do the proper research, however, people may actually start getting excited for this thing. Just tread carefully and make sure you don’t turn this beloved franchise into an abomination of cinema.


Mike Murphy
News Director,


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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