Naughty Dog’s Hennig On ‘Uncharted’ Movie: Shouldn’t Be ‘Too Literal’

There’s no denying that the “Uncharted” series has some of the most exceptional acting and storytelling in this current generation of gaming. Whether it’s Nolan North’s spot-on delivery as “every man” adventurer Nathan Drake, or the way Naughty Dog manages to weave the story into the action, “Uncharted 2” has set the bar exceptionally high. So, with an “Uncharted” film on the horizon, how does the developer feel about their hit game making the jump to another medium?

During a recent interview with Official PlayStation Magazine, Naughty Dog’s creative director, Amy Hennig, sat down to talk about the high level of polished writing behind the company’s flagship franchise. When questioned about the upcoming “Uncharted” movie, directed by David O. Russell, Hennig offered some insight into the studio’s feelings about the adaptation, as well as what can go wrong.

“I think we all feel protective of the franchise, just as the fans do. “Uncharted” has now been seven years of my life,” Hennig told OPM, “On the other hand, I understand that film is a different medium to games, and I think if people are too literal about what they think an adaptation ought to be, they’ll probably make a bad film … somebody’s got to come in and say, Well, what is it that fundamentally works in this franchise? What’s charming about the characters? And then do an adaptation that honors that in spirit without being too literal.”

I’m obviously making assumptions about Hennig’s statements, but I think I understand what she’s getting at here. The “Uncharted” games work, even though they take a large portion of their style from film, because as Hennig states later, “we’re in on the joke together.” The franchise doesn’t so much lift directly from its inspirational sources – say, “Indiana Jones” – so much as it borrows the elements that made the original great. Drake isn’t a direct copy of Jones, he’s just an allusion to the parts of the character we all hold dear. In other words, a film adaptation should be exactly that, an adaptation, taking the best parts of what we love about “Uncharted” without trying to make a literal clone.

That’s not to say that Hennig appears worried about the film’s director. While I’m personally a bit skeptical, the Naughty Dog creative director seems to take an optimistic approach.

“I know a lot of people have been concerned, asking, do we have the right director, do we have the right writer, what’s going to happen? But we’re waiting too,” she said, “What I’ve said in the past is, if the guy who made Three Kings wants to make an Uncharted movie, we should be thankful, right?”

Back in February, we reported on an interview that Russell did with IGN UK. While it’s entirely possible that “The Fighter” director’s viewpoints have changed as the film is going through pre-production, his comments were a bit…alarming. There was a whole lot of talk about the game’s “family dynamic” (what?) and how the film could take inspiration from “The Sopranos.” Wow.

Here’s hoping Naughty Dog is keeping a watchful eye on the film before it turns into another Uwe Boll disaster.