Neil Druckmann Discusses 'Uncharted,' 'The Last of Us' Movie Adaptations

"We’re not excited about a direct adaptation because we’ve already told that story very well cinematically," Naughty Dog's creative lead says

While work on movie adaptations of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted and The Last of Us video games continues, the thinking about what they should be has evolved with time.

"We used to just be excited – 'Oh my god, movies are looking at us' – but then as more time passes on we're not excited about a direct adaptation because we've already told that story very well cinematically," Neil Druckmann, Naughty Dog's creative lead, told Dan Trachtenberg, director of 10 Cloverfield Lane, during a talk at the DICE Summit about storytelling this week.

Druckmann, who worked on the Last of Us movie script, says he looked back at that now and doesn’t want that movie to be made. For both The Last of Us and Uncharted, Druckmann also says it would be odd to retell the story already delivered in games because the actors for the main characters would be recast.

“For me and a lot of our fans Nolan North is Nathan Drake. Ashley Johnson is Ellie. Troy Baker is Joel,” he says. “It would be very disorienting to see someone else in that role.” Druckmann likened it to someone deciding they wanted to turn Breaking Bad into a movie and then casting someone else as Walter White.

Both Druckmann and Trachtenberg seemed to settle on the approach used by the TV adaptation of Fargo, as the right way to go. They said that introducing new characters into the fabric of that world and then capturing the tone and expanding on the stories is what makes it work so well.

Druckmann says he’s had some conversations with Shawn Levy, director of Stranger Things, about the Uncharted movie. “He’s really passionate. He gets it. I think he understands where we’re at. The conversations we’ve had with Shawn, him wanting to tell a story with potentially a young Nathan Drake that fills in some of the gaps of his life, is way more interesting.”