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Games have come a long way from the old Nintendo days when it comes to building a cinematic gaming experience; the “God of War” and “Mass Effect” series coming to mind for many. However, no other franchise on the market is billed as a cinematic series more than the “Uncharted” games. Focusing on Nathan Drake, a charming, brilliant treasure hunter with a penchant for getting in trouble (comes with the job description), the “Uncharted” games are praised for their attention to characters, humor and oftentimes relentless action set pieces (especially in the second game, “Among Thieves”).
Now Hollywood aims to capitalize on the success of the game series (“Among Thieves” selling more than 3 million copies a few months after release and sweeping most industry awards) by adapting the first game, “Drake's Fortune,” for the silver screen. To do so is a gamble on a few fronts; a video game adaptation never really being heralded as a success, save for the “Tomb Raider” series (more a financial than critical success).
If the adaptation of “Drake's Fortune” is to succeed under the temperamental direction of David O. Russell (The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees), it must have a stellar lead to play Nathan Drake. Casting such a role is a difficult balance of fitting the bill of the character and branding the project with a name large enough to attract viewers who are not familiar with the series or games in general.
By now, those unfamiliar with the series are asking one of two questions. A.) “Who is Nathan Drake?” or B.) “Why am I still reading this and should I care?”
If your question is A, we can help you. Nathan Drake is the main protagonist of the “Uncharted” series, age 25 at the start of the first game. His family history (in the game's context) is said to extend back to real life explorer Sir Francis Drake, setting up his involvement in the first game/film. Many in the industry would describe Drake as being a likable “everyman” kind of guy, with a dry/sarcastic sense of humor, oftentimes in the face of danger.
Who Can Play Him?
Word has already spread around Hollywood that Fillion (via his Twitter account) wants the role. Frankly, he's not a bad choice (they share the same name, at least). He certainly has a great amount of charm with the hint of roguish behavior required to take the lead of a treasurer hunter. The only concern with the casting might be his age, Drake being in his mid 20s and Fillion pushing 40 next year. However, if age is just a number, than we wouldn't be so quick to put Fillion out of the running just yet.
The man is already well versed in the island setting that “Drake's Fortune” will take place in and he fits right in. He definitely has the charisma to take the lead, especially when you consider his placement in Lost, having one of the larger ensembles to come onto T.V. in, well, its history. He's got the look, energy, fandom and everyman appeal. Perhaps this could be his next big step?
Yes, he's not the closest resemblance to Drake and yes, his film pedigree is not the strongest (“Fantastic Four” series) but he also has some credentials to work with. He's taken on (successfully, in my honest opinion) some serious fare with Danny Boyle's often unappreciated sci-fi film Sunshine as well as comedic fare with his (awesome) turn in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. He's already moved into leading man territory having been cast as Captain America in both his own film as well as The Avengers. Perhaps his humor, physicality and growing name can grab him the role, but commitments to Marvel make this a bit of a longshot.
North, who voices and does motion capture of Drake, is often referred to as the guy who voices everyone in video games these days. Not only does he play Drake, but Desmond Mills in the “Assassin's Creed” series and the Prince in the recent “Prince of Persia” games. Of any potential candidates, he is the most familiar with the character in terms of history, manners and above all personality. His physical resemblance is not as striking as some, but we wouldn't count North out yet.
Having exploded onto the scene with Avatar and Terminator Salvation, Worthington has made a name for himself for action pieces. He certainly has the capacity to take the lead of a franchise. What may be going against him is where Drake is billed as an everyman, Worthington has the look of a “bad boy” -- more of a rough-and-tumble type. Perfect for action sequences; tricky for the scenes in between. Still, with the “Uncharted” series hoping to bill itself as action blockbuster, Worthington's name would add weight to the new project.