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Capone talks THE FIGHTER and UNCHARTED with Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

As far as I'm concerned, director David O. Russell has a perfect record, 5 for 5, beginning with his weird, dark 1994 comedy SPANKING THE MONKEY, followed two years later with the beautifully satirical FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, both of which he wrote. But it was with 1999's freakishly good and groundbreaking Gulf War story THREE KINGS that the world really got a taste of Russell on a big scale. It was also the film that paired him for the first of three time with actor Mark Wahlberg, who showed the world his most humorous side to date in 2004's underappreciated I HEART HUCKABEES.

It's almost inconceivable that Russell didn't get another movie released for six years after HUCKABEES, but it wasn't for lack of trying. In 2008, he got well into production (some say it was nearly done, but critical story elements remained un-shot) on what sounded like another great satire, NAILED, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, Catherine Keener, and James Marsden, when the financing suddenly vanished, and the film went into eternal limbo. As Russell put it, between this incident and a reports of on-set fighting on his THREE KINGS and HUCKABEES sets, his stock was decidedly down. But back into his life came Wahlberg and his passion project, THE FIGHTER, which not only got Russell's stock back up, but earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director and the film itself can't stop winning awards for its actors.

THE FIGHTER has been out long enough that you don't need me to recount the plot or the story behind it. What I love is that millions of people have gone into it thinking it was nothing more than a well made boxing movie and have come out realizing the the film's strength is in its family drama. Plus, there's some really great boxing sequences in it as well. Since Russell has spent the better part of the last couple of months talking about THE FIGHTER, I tried to come at my questions with more some personal observations mixed in with some of the standard questions Russell is probably sick of answering. But it's clear to me that he's immensely proud of every aspect of the production and the accolades and validation he has received from critics and peers.

It sounds like his next project, UNCHARTED: DRAKE'S FORTUNE, based on the video game, is well under way, although having to attend all of these awards ceremonies has seriously cut into Russell's screenwriting time. I had a tremendously satisfying time talking to Russell for near a half hour, and in that time I found him engaging and willing to talk about anything. Please enjoy my talk with David O. Russell…

Capone: Hi, David. How are you?

David O. Russell: Hi, how are you?

Capone: Good. First of all, congratulations on the Oscar nomination. I want to make sure I get that out of the way right at the top.

DOR: Thank you so much. We don’t want to get it out of the way yet. [Laughs] We’ve still got two weeks left.

Capone: What does that nomination mean to you? Is it a sort of redemption of some sort?

DOR: Let’s just say I was on the mat, and now I’m back up on my feet where I intend to stay. It means the world to me and it means the world to me to be part of the competition in a year with a lot of really good films. I really believe in our film enormously. I love our film enormously, and that to me is the greatest privilege of all.

Capone: Plus it has got to feel pretty good too that your actors haven't been able to stop winning awards for the last few weeks.

DOR: Yeah, well God bless them and may they keep on. They deserve it. I think their heart and soul are all over the film and I think every film has something different this year to offer, so it’s a pretty subjective call.

Capone: Are you in any way disappointed that the Academy didn’t recognize Mark’s [Wahlberg] performance? I think a lot of people mentioned that when the nominations came out.

DOR: I’ve spoken to two of the greatest actors of our time, Sean Penn and Robert DeNiro, and they both, without any prompting went on in great, passionate detail about Mark’s performance and feeling that he got stiffed. But Mark himself has been very gracious about it, and as a producer, he's extremely happy for all of us and for the film, and he knew he was taking the less flashy role, so I don’t think he’s that surprised that this is how it went and the quieter performances often don’t get the recognition they deserve, but that’s okay. Some of my favorite performances of cinema and favorite films, not only weren’t nominated or won at the time, so it’s not like this is a science.

Capone: The Academy doesn’t very often recognize those kind of very stable, central people in the center of that chaos, around whom the more colorful characters revolve.

DOR: And you need both to make it work. In a song, you need a bass line as much as you need the treble. Christian [Bale] and Melissa [Leo] are able to really fly big, because Amy [Adams] and Mark are so grounded and completely emotionally engaged and present. So they really helped create the entire environment that makes everything possible. I don’t think one exists without the other, really.

Capone: Agreed. This film played at a festival down in Austin called Butt Numb-a-Thon back in December, and I was asked to introduce it, because I had seen it and had written my review very early and I loved it. One of the things I told the audience when I was introducing it was, “Whatever you think this movie is about, you’re wrong.”

DOR: Oh hell, that’s a good way to put it.

Capone: Have you noticed that? People go into it thinking it’s a sports movie or a boxing movie, and I’m like “No… it’s got that in it, but that’s not what it is.” Have people been telling you that it surprised them in that way, that it’s more about a family?

DOR: To me, it was always an amazing story of this family and the romance between Mark and Amy that has fighting in it. I don’t think anybody who sees it recognizes that, and I’ve heard that from many, mostly women who have seen the film and loved it who said they don’t really care for fighting and they went and they just absolutely really loved watching the film. So yeah, we’ve heard that from many places. You can’t always control the marketing, you know. That’s [the studio's] thing.

Capone: And you can’t always control the word of mouth, which, in the case of THE FIGHTER, is getting those women to go see the movie in the first place. I’ve got to imagine this is the most women that have ever gone to a boxing movie in history.

DOR: Yeah, I think it tested very well, but it tested better with women than it did with men. That did not entirely surprise me, because I think it’s a similar thing with THREE KINGS. I think it’s the emotion and the characters that make these things that might seem sort of macho genre films not that at all.

Capone: With most of the fight scenes you present them in a way that is as if we are watching them on television. I thought that was a really interesting choice, because you’ve got the commentators; you’ve always got that HBO logo in the corner. What went into making that decision? You must have worked so closely with HBO, not just on the fight scenes, but also on the documentary re-creation. Can you talk about your relationship with them and that choice?

DOR: I love things that feel raw and real. That’s just how I love to shoot; that’s how I love to direct; and that’s how I love the scene to feel. I like the actors to not know when the camera is on or off, so that their performances don’t feel so much like performances. Instead, it feels like you walked into somebody’s living room and you are watching people who are caught up in a discussion or a debate or a moment. The fact that we had the HBO frame on the film was such a gift to me as a filmmaker, and I seized upon that. That was one of many things that I brought to the table when I came aboard.

I focused on the rhythm of the story, how I wanted to tell it with my kinetic energy, which we had also done in THREE KINGS. There was an energy from the opening shots down the streets, and the interviews were part of that as well. I wanted to be able to interview the characters throughout the film, which we did not have budgeted or scripted, and just put the people on the coach or put the local ladies of the town on the street and interview them. These were all great things that I was able to focus on, including making the Amy Adams' role a role that Amy Adams wanted to do, because before that, it wasn’t--it was more impressionistic. And the sisters weren’t as much of a focused presence. The singing with Alice and her son in the car and their sense of romance or closeness, and the music in general throughout the film--the musical voice of the film--were all things that I got to bring as a director to the picture that were things that I was happy to contribute.

Capone: You mentioned those interview scenes, it's hard to believe they weren't scripted because some of the most emotionally wrenching moments come out of them.

DOR: Yeah, the interviews were not scripted. They were not budgeted or scripted, and I was just determined to do them no matter what, and because everybody was so amazingly in character and because everybody was so comfortable on the set, and we had such a good environment, they were comfortable at like 2 a.m. or whatever time of day between setups sit on the coach and get interviewed. I was like, “I’m just going to throw questions at you,” and they became the gold that are the book ends of the film.

Or the singing in the car was one take. I said, “I want the world to see that these two have a special bond that can be used at any time no matter what they're up against.” I thought singing that BeeGees song [""I Started A Joke"] together was a really good way to do it and I felt instinctively that the lyrics of that song and the tone of that song kind of captured a certain melancholy and a certain love and a certain irony. “I started the joke that started the whole world crying. I didn’t know the joke was on me.” The lyrics are very appropriate for Dicky and Alice and I thought it was good that it would be their song.

Melissa and Christian were so amazingly committed, I asked them to learn it, they thought it was a strange song. I said, "I think that’s what makes it beautiful,” and they did learn it, so when the day came where we had 20 minutes, I said “Did you learn it?” They said, “Yeah.” I said “Well, this is our chance, right now.” We only had one place to put the camera, which was in the back seat, and I said “That’s cool,” because sometimes some of the most powerful scenes in cinema are people’s back, so we got in and we filmed in from their backs. They were game and they were completely in the moment and so Melissa was completely emotional and Christian was so completely contrite at trying to win her back that the moment became instantly real.

I’m glad to know people responded to it, because it was much debated. The producers were very skeptical about that scene and to their credit when it was in, even though the studio still thought it was odd and maybe wanted it out, [producer] David Hoberman backed me up and he said “I think it’s inspired. It needs to stay.” I was very grateful to him for that.

Capone: I truly love, I believe it’s the final time we see the brothers on the couch just when they are sort of professing their love for each other and one or both of them start to tear up. I sat there in Austin and watch a room full of hardened film geeks cry at that moment. And it’s incredible that it was improvised, because that’s the tear jerk moment of the movie. If you aren’t crying then, then you are dead.

DOR: You know, I threw questions at them and I said “Let’s switch seats, because at the beginning when we first interviewed you, you were in different seats, and it makes sense to me now that you have switched seats, that the alpha is now the beta and the beta is now the alpha.” They did that and that was spontaneous emotion, and it does bring tears to everybody’s eyes. Even when I talk about it, it can sometimes bring tears to my eyes. There’s nothing more powerful than someone having to swallow their pride, I think.

Capone: When you start playing the re-created documentary within the film, I had such a vivid memory of seeing that documentary when it first aired.

DOR: Oh, you saw it?

Capone: I absolutely remember it, because it was the first time I had ever seen what a person on crack looked like and I was shocked. I wasn’t that young either, when it first aired, but it was kind of incredible. I don’t remember it being Dicky specifically, but I remember looking at what a person on crack looked like--sunken, like a husk of a human being, and that just freaked me out. I had never seen that before. Did Christian kind of use that?

DOR: Oh, Christian watched that quite a bit. He spent a lot of time with Dicky and Dicky’s friend, and Dicky gave him an underground tour of some of the paleolithic layers of Lowell. Yeah, I don’t know what to say. That film is just such a gift, and to use it could have broken either way for Dicky. If he had sort of pulled himself out of his spiral, he could have made it about him cleaning up, and that’s what that documentary would have been about. It would have been half about crack and half been about a guy who heroically pulled himself out of it, but he didn’t at that time.

It was great to try to re-create all of that and creating the texture of the picture was always so palpable for us, and I could always be uncompromising in how we wanted to feel sweaty and real and intimate, which I think ends up looking easier than it is to accomplish. Like my dad always said, “Joe DiMaggio always made it look easy.” Sometimes the best things end up looking easy.

Capone: I said this to the audience in Austin too, that what Bale is doing in this movie cannot even be considered acting; it’s so far beyond that I think. When you are working with someone like Christian Bale, do you ever catch yourself watching him at certain points wondering how the hell he does it?

DOR: I think I got pretty much early on what he was like, and he described me as being very sincere and very silly, that those were two qualities that we shared and that we connected on and that Dicky shares that we can put into Dicky. There's almost a childlike innocence and sincerity that’s combined with kind of silliness and playfulness that can get them into trouble and could also bring their heart out, so I saw that in Christian from day one, and we agreed from day one that the Dicky that was in the previous drafter of the pre-existing scripts was needlessly dark and one dimensional a little bit, and that his charm and his heart was so important, and I think Christian loved it and he said recently that he hoped they didn’t mind Batman being played as Dicky, because he so loved Dicky that he had it inside of him.

And watching Christian work, here’s how it is: you see him dial into it and when he dials into it, he’s in it, and when it first started out, it’s probably like watching a great dancer or a great musician master a lick, because it can be bigger. It started out bigger than it needed to be, and then we said “We need to calibrate this and reign it in a little bit and focus it a little bit and be able to understand what you are saying.” Then once he dialed into that, he was just there, so it was like having this amazing athlete there all of the time who was completely zoned into that music and having a love affair with it really. I mean he was really having a love affair with that character, which is why think you can still hear it when he accepts some of his awards.

Capone: That’s true. I’ve been noticing some of that silliness recently in his acceptance speeches. We were talking about Mark as an actor earlier. Forgetting his transformation into this media mogul now, has Mark changed much as an actor since THREE KINGS? Have you noticed a growth?

DOR: I think has grown up enormously as an actor, as a producer, and as a man. When I first met him, he was 26 years old and running around like a rock star still, and now he has four children and he runs a television empire and a film empire and is a very astute business person and people person, and I learn a lot from him constantly. And he also, as an actor, I think is more exposing of himself. I think he is more willing to expose himself and expose his vulnerabilities and expose his emotions and let us into the windows of his eyes to feel what’s going on inside of him, and that’s what he did throughout this film. He and Amy kind of anchored the emotion that allowed Melissa and Christian to take off, so I totally have seen him do that.

We have a very trusting relationship, so when he dove into comedy, he said “Whatever you say,” and the result of that was that he got THE OTHER GUYS. As a way of acknowledging that, Adam McKay and Will Ferrell have said they didn’t know Mark could be so comedic until they had seen HUCKABEES. So, we’ve got more things I think we are going to do and I think we are going to dig deeper with him. I just think “stay tuned” is what I always say with him. We are planning on working together and we are going to do more work together, and I think we are going to mine different qualities out of him as an actor, which I’m always excited about.

Capone: Before the film came out, people thought maybe you were an odd choice for a director of this kind of material, since a lot of your films before have been sort of these darkly comic, satirical pieces. Were you aware perhaps that this was a turn in a different direction from what you had been doing before?

DOR: I think I was not a natural choice for a lot of reasons, the main one being that my stock was down you know. When your stock is up, you seem like the right choice for everything, you know? [laughs] It’s just a very fickle town in that regard, and I remember when my stock was up thinking, “Gee, this doesn’t feel fair or accurate,” and when it’s down, you say also “This doesn’t feel fair or accurate.” So, I just knew that Mark had to fight for me to get the job and I think that it worked out of the best for the whole film, as he said. Matt Damon was gracious enough to say when I crossed paths with him recently, “This film again demonstrates that the right people play the right roles and make the right film at the right time,” and I think that was his way of acknowledging that Christian played that role perhaps better than Matt Damon, who had been attached to it for some time, might have and that maybe I might as a director have done the best version of the picture. That was a compliment that meant a lot to me.

Capone: When you felt like your stock was down, did chronicling this family make you look at your career and go, “Maybe I don’t have it so bad” compared to like what these people have. Were you able to draw some parallels?

DOR: I think I just felt a real kinship with them, do you know what I’m saying? I think when you're humbled, it allows you to do more real work. I just think your ego is almost always an impediment. I think that when you're really focused on the work and trying to do your best for that, and you feel the hearts of these people, because you know what it’s like to have made mistakes, and it reminded me of a lot of members of my own family, from Brooklyn and other parts of New York, and I just really felt that I knew these people and I felt close to them and I felt enormous affection for them the entire time and I still do. That’s why I regretted… Pan Martin, who is also nominated, our editor, the hardest thing was to let go of those scenes with interviewing his sisters, because we so loved them, and we did interviews with them like a Greek chorus to go throughout the film and, arguably, I think that stuff would have worked. It did work, but for purposes of the economy and horse-trading over the cut, we gave them up. They will be on the DVD, but there was a lot of affection for all of these characters.

Capone: I hope so, because the sisters clearly are what a lot of people are talking about coming out of the film. The more of them, the better.

DOR: Yeah exactly, right? Everybody came to L.A. and everybody saw how they cleaned up so nice. They give you so much mileage in terms of creating a world. They were not a big presence in the earlier draft. I did not see how you could really feel this world without them being there all of the time. That told you what it felt like. You can’t be in that town and not know what it’s like to have those sisters everywhere. They are everywhere. They have families and children. They're a great presence, and I wanted to capture that, and my mom’s extended Italian family was the same way. In certain parts of Bay Ridge, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting one of her aunts. She had four aunts and an uncle and had all of these kids and cousins, and so I know what that’s like and I think that’s a very special environment.

And in films I love, such as GOODFELLAS or other families that create a world in a movie, I knew that we had sort of a special rhythm. There’s nothing better than when you are in love with the material and you just get off on it. You know, it’s something--that rare thing--like when you are speaking so someone who is just special or sublime. For some reason, I feel that talking to Dan Aykroyd is like that. I think that speaking to Mr. DeNiro is like that or Paul Ruebens or Quentin Tarantino. You're talking to people and you are like, “Wow, this person is such a singular thing. They are so just what they are. They are just what they are,” and there’s something very pure about it and something very beautiful about it, and it’s so human and you can kind of marvel at it. That’s how I felt about every person in this movie. I felt like I was there with my mouth handing open a little bit and you are like, “God, look at these people.” That’s the best thing you can have, and for me as a director, that gave me my focus. That’s what I want to make movies about in the foreseeable future.

Capone: Speaking of the foreseeable future, in the last month or two, you’ve announced that UNCHARTED is something that you are now working on. Will that be the next thing for you, or is that just one of many possibilities at this point?

DOR: That is supposed to be my next project, and I’m very excited about making that happen. It’s been hard to finish the draft in the middle of awards season, but I’ll take that tradeoff any day, and I think the producers have been very understanding about that and how special this is. But I think I could make that that into a world that has a family dynamic in it akin to "The Sopranos" or akin to other worlds. See, people will take that, and they will misinterpret it, so I shouldn’t say that. There are all kinds of gamers out there…

Capone: I think they already have, yeah.

DOR: [laughs] Yeah, they have, and so I don’t want to stir that pot. People should just wait to see what we do. You have see how happy that you are going to make something into a very muscular, cinematic world. You know, like Darren [Aronofsky] now doing an X-MEN movie. That is a special thing, and you're going to make a film that is muscular with great characters and a propulsive story that’s going to stand up hopefully to the test of time. You don’t just want to make a film that was a knockoff of a game that’s not going to be around. So that’s my goal, to honor the material, just like it was my goal with the people of Lowell and just like when Quentin took the Elmore Leonard books, you know? You’re kind of saying, “Let me do my thing please, and I want to build something that in this case was a muscular franchise that satisfies, but that has all of these amazing characters in it.”

Capone: Well, congratulations again. And thank you very much for taking the time out to talk to us.

DOR: Thank you, and thank you for having our film down there and thank you for watching it and thank you for telling me about how people were captivated by it, because those are the things that are really special to hear. That means a lot. I know that’s a tough crowd down there, and you never know. And it's good to hear that they connected with it.

Capone: They just get all soft and mushy when something good gets put in front of them.

DOR: There you go, because sometimes people are cold blooded and they like cold-blooded stuff, and I understand and respect then, it’s just a school of cinema that’s not mine. I’m so glad that they can get mushy.

Capone: Absolutely. All right, well thanks a lot, David.

DOR: Have a good one.

-- Capone
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Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Just give Bale the Oscar now

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Seriously after two seconds of seeing him go nuts as the hyperactive even when he's not on crack brother I knew it was his.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:50 a.m. CST

    The Uncharted Games

    by quintana007

    are better than every actionmovie of the last 10 years. Story (yes there is a lot!), action, humor (yes there is too!!!), all top notch. And sunnyboy Nathan Drake is one rare case of a bunch of polygons you really care about. But this smells like a standard hollywood action crapfest. "I'm sweating like a hooker in a church"

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:54 a.m. CST

    Bale won't win the oscar

    by alan_poon

    Just like Mickey Rourke didn't win for The Wrestler even though both deserved/deserve it. I don't think Bale is a popular man in voting circles. My money is on Geoffrey Rush.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:20 a.m. CST

    There he goes again about the family dynamics..

    by Aidil_Afham

    While im certain he'll make a good film called Uncharted, i don't think he truly gets the game or respect the source material enough. What family dynamics is he talking about? And fighting for justice? What the hell was he playing? The characters mostly don't trust each other and double crossing for the sake of profit. I know translating it directly on film would make it a bland action movie but for god's sake could you at least make it relatable to us gamers? Jeez..

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Get FILLION for DRAKE you idiot!

    by dead youngling

    Russell can man crush all over Marky--doesn' t mean the guy can do Drake. If not Fillion there are other guys who could pull it off better than Mark...and I'm a Mark fan, sort of...

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Gives me a bit more confidence in UNCHARTED.

    by blackwood

    Specifically, Wahlberg as Drake. I dig Russell's faith in him. Great interview Capone.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:32 a.m. CST

    uncharted with family dynamics = national treasure

    by ORIONgods

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:32 a.m. CST

    by ORIONgods

    which is a fail

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Uncharted owes a lot to

    by quintana007

    the spirit of Romancing the Stone i believe. Lets keep it that way. Family dynamics my ass!! Get Olyphant as Nate

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:13 a.m. CST

    quintana007 - Um, the Bourne Trilogy?

    by Gerry

    just to name a few. and the Uncharted story (at least the first one) wasn't all that mind-blowing or ground breaking considering it was your typical adventure/quest plot. It was essentially a video game adaptation of a Clive Cussler novel. Haven't played the 2nd one so I can't comment on that.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Fillion lobbied for the role and lost. I've always said, at least physically,

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    Eddie Cibrian is a dead ringer for Drake. And Drake needs to be smart but self depreciating, cocky but still unsure. I don't read those qualities in Wahlberg, but if anyone can direct him well it would be Russell. Look what John Moore did with him in Max Payne...feh.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:22 a.m. CST

    just another game

    by movieManiac

    I like how he says he's going to elevate it beyond just another game that no one will remember. He sure seems to think his movies are going to be remembered. He also doesn't seem to know that hes talking about what is probably this generations most acclaimed game franchise, critically and by gamers. Sigh.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:24 a.m. CST

    And is anyone cast for Sully? Is there even a Sully?

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    This may be another case where an adaptation is useless, since the games are so cinematic to begin with. Can't wait for number 3.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Three Kings sucks big donkey dick

    by detectivesoap

    I read some book about hollywood up and comers in the 90s and they went ape shit over Three Kings too. Isn't that the movie where Ice Cube throws a football bomb at a helicopter? With a badass line like "Catch this, muthafucka!" Dumber shit has been put to celluloid, but for the life of me I can't figure out what. Fuck Three Kings.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    He does not understand Uncharted

    by eric haislar

    Or why people love those games. Family Dynamic? Everything interview i have read he is describing a film that is what a uncharted movie should be or really what it is about.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:08 a.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Micky Ward's real triumph was not slitting his own throat from living in a house full of insane bitches who were clearly afflicted with fetal alcohol syndrome.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:24 a.m. CST

    I'm just trying to understand Russel here about Uncharted...

    by Johnno

    Now, when he says, "Family Dynamic", does he literally mean that the characters are going to be relatives with each other, or that they simply behave like 'family'? If that's all he means then we can get down with that. What bothers many are earlier statements/rumors that he is turning Uncharted into a movie about a family of skilled treasure hunters whom the government hires to fight against a secret organization. That is bullshit and I hope that isn't true. Uncharted is about Nathan Drake, a descendent of Sir Francis Drake, who is orphaned, lived a shady villianous lifestyle, gets taken in by Victor Sullivan who is a treasure hunter and Drake helps him out in his crazy quests. They don't work for the government. If anything they break a lot of laws and rub shoulders with a lot of shady people. Uncharted is Indiana Jones. But it sounds like Russell would rather make it something like the Mummy movies, where a literal family is out and about treasure hunting with cute children running around amuck. That isn't Uncharted. And I hope Russell isn't making that into Uncharted. Uncharted's focus should be on one guy, his relationships with women he comes across as well as his mentor Sully. And he just so happens to get into screwy situations with organizations and people and local pirates/militia. Not because he's James Bond, sent in by the government to prevent artifacts of great power from falling into the wrong hands. He's in it for money and fame. And he'd rather things went along much easier. At least get some input from Naughty Dog on this... This is an Indiana Jones movies. Indiana Jones had 'family dynamics', but he wasn't part of some great legacy of a recognized family descendents that was trusted by the governments of the world to be the Justice League of antiquities.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Read in a gamer mag that Russel may cast DeNiro and Pesci as "uncles"

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    or some family connection. As fun as it would be to see them together on screen again, not if its just another stunt, like DeNiro and Keitel in the Fockers.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Oh and I had to rent Taxi Driver recently (no Bluray?!) just to remind that DeNiro

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    was an acting genius.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Detectivesoap, have even seen Three Kings?

    by masteryoda007


  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Who cares if he changes Uncharted?

    by pachaim

    I would rather a visionary director put out a loosely related but high quality film than have another piece of junk game adaptation from a hack director. I think if you want a great director you have to live with their artistic choices - if you want to see the same thing over again, replay Uncharted.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 11:10 a.m. CST

    bringingsexyback, I sort of agree.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    White trash southie women...gee, we've never seen that before. Wahlberg was good, but it's a role that could have been done by several others, so in my mind it makes sense that he wasn't nominated. I'm glad Melissa Leo was nominated because she nailed the mom to perfection. As far as Amy Adams, like Wahlberg, I think she was good, but several actresses could have done just as well. Now if you watch The Fighter, but take out Bale, what do you have? It's a decent movie, but nowhere along the lines of Rocky, Cinderella Man, or Raging Bull.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    uncharted should be nothing like the sopranos

    by Adelai Niska

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:08 p.m. CST

    I agree that Bale might not win the oscar...

    by DirkD13"

    due to his unpopularity in some circles. I have my fingers crossed for John Hawkes, his performance in Winter's Bone was a revelation.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Fuck Uncharted.

    by Stalkeye

    Marky Mark?!? GTFO, BTW I never bothered to finish the damn game.It, along with my PS3 is collecting dust in my entertainment curio. Now Killzone 3,on the other hand looks good. Time to dust off my Sony 15lb doorstop.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Hawkes should be amazed he was nominated. I agree it was an amazing

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    performance. But remember the Oscars are sometimes for a body of work. Bale will be remembered for the physical abuse he puts his body through for roles like The Machinist and Rescue Dawn (AND The Fighter), and the training to achieve the strength of an athlete for American Psycho and the Batmans. His total commitment to his character is almost legendary, and it is for that he will get the Oscar.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:34 p.m. CST

    David O Russell sucks more than 69ing leeches.

    by arta

    He's a overrated faggot who berates and beats women while fighting actor shorter than him. He needs o die violently in a home invasion.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:43 p.m. CST


    by michael

    i was on set of NAILED the day it was shut down. They just had one more scene to film. The scene was where the nail got shot into her head. I was an extra a few weeks before and got called back to be a waiter in that scene. Sucks that it won't ever get finished.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:53 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Totally agree. I haven't seen Cinderella Man but yea, The Fighter doesn't hold a candle to Rocky or Raging Bull. I don't know if you can classify The Boxer as a boxing movie but that was far better too. Have you checked out Blue Valentine yet?

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:05 p.m. CST!!!!!!!!

    by Wookie_1995

    why must hollywood ruin the things I love...I love uncharted so fillion and I have to see a re-hash of National Treasure 2 with uncharted on the poster! BECAUSE THATS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE HIS GOAL IS FOR THE MOVIE! NATIONAL TREASURE 2.5! GAWD!

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Other than Bale, The Fighter was so tepid

    by Bill

    This guy should be fellating Bale thrice daily for all of his default award nominations. There was no achievement in directing in The Fighter (how many fade to black dissolves were in it? 10? Amateur hour). Leo, Adams and of course Bale were outstanding but Wahlberg could have been replaced by a bucket of sand with a stop sign in it.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Why? Marky Mark!. Sony,Naughty Dog..Help!!

    by BlackBriar

    I wouldn't be so pissed off if Marky Mark wasn't in this movie! This has a good chance to be the first great video game movie, Sony and Naughty Dog can stop this and realize its turning into a crap.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Just saw "The Fighter" yesterday

    by Kammich

    I've been hitting up every outlet I can to catch up on the Oscar fare. Recently saw "Black Swan"(tremendous) and "True Grit,"(more sentimental and light-hearted than I expected, but very good) and then last night I saw "The Fighter." I didn't have huge hopes for it. I am a sports writer by trade, and I inherently dislike 98% of sports movies for their fallacies in dramatizing the elements of a sport for the sake of a movie. I'm neither a huge Wahlberg fan nor a huge Russell fan, and I was shaking my head when I heard they made a whole movie about Micky Ward and didn't include any of his fights with Arturo Gatti. So, like I said, low expectations. And I came away with "The Fighter" being my favorite film of 2010 so far. Bale is incredible and nearly unrecognizable as Dicky Ecklund. He exudes charm and charisma all while doing some deplorable things, and still manages to evoke sympathy and, to some degree, pity. The movie is as much a "redemption tale" for Ecklund as it is for Ward. The concept of shooting the fights using the old HBO cameras was brilliant and its well executed. Wahlberg may not be the best actor in the world, but he does not distract you IN the ring, performing a perfect facsimile of Ward, and thats the greatest compliment I can give him; if he failed to evoke Ward IN the ring, the movie fails. Its the most formulaic of the Oscar nods that I've seen so far, and I know it won't win, but I enjoyed it more than any of the others so far. Next: "127 Hours."

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:47 p.m. CST

    This will be terrible.

    by jimmy_009

    Love the games, but this has all the earmarks of a disaster because of one thing: Mark Wahlberg. He has no charisma for this kind of role. Zero. He can do some things really well, but THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. I can already picture this playing out in my head and it looks NOTHING like Uncharted. Why not just go create your own action franchise if that's what you want? If you're going to base it on Uncharted, why not try to actually stick to what makes it work rather than snatch up the license and complete reinvent it anyway? Fucking moron.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:50 p.m. CST

    I feel sorry for the folks at Naughty Dog

    by jimmy_009

    who have put their blood, sweat, and tears into creating a charismatic, fun, humorous action lead only to watch Mark Wahlberg get cast to play the film version. Seriously ND employees, I feel for you.

  • Check out Jeremy Jahns's impression of Nathan Drake.

  • If I liked Uncharted more, I'd find that offensive. I'm surprised no one else is. Only movies stick around in the public consciousness for long periods of time! Games are not as meaningful and are inevitably forgotten! I mean, who remembers old games like Space Invaders or Pacman or Super Mario Bros. or... wait.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 3:59 p.m. CST

    *I'm surprised no one else is offended, I mean

    by SilentP

    probably should have read that over before posting it. Would sure be nice if there were an EDIT BUTTON.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Marky Mark in Uncharted ugh

    by DarkSeider

    Is Nathan Drake a tough guy from Boston? if not then Marky Mark will suck balls in this role. He is a terrible one-dimensional actor. The only roles he's ever come remotely close to decent acting in are The Fighter and The Departed. He is down there with Keanu Reeves, Channing Tatum, and Nic Cage in my list of shitty actors that keep getting leading roles. This role should have gone to Nathan Fillion but I guess since the director and Marky are good buddies he threw him a bone. There goes the Uncharted franchise down into the gutter before the first movie is ever made, fuck! that sucks.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:21 p.m. CST

    There's still some hope for video game movies...

    by Johnno

    Silent Hill: Revelation sounds like it'll turn out good, because for one thing the director gives a damn. Given how Sony is cocking up their movie franchises, it's no wonder Konami and Hideo Kojima might've pled the plug on a Metal Gear Solid adaptation. I mean, the joke of a producer actually thought they should make that film on a lower scale budget... Who knows what else they cocked up. And yeah as silentp has pointed out, that's a low blow from Russell about the games. The more I hear about this the more bullshit I hear about Sopranos family and uncles... Like what the hell is going on here? Is this set in the past? Are we talking about the real Sir Francis Drake and his family of aristocratic uncles? SO this is all a prequel to Uncharted? Hell the IGN interview has him saying that the story in the games is about a family. No it isn't! That's his story he cooked up! He obviously hasn't played the games, or he's played some other ones altogether! Or maybe he just saw a bunch of cutscenes and assumed that veryone, including the bad guys were all relatives... That's the only logical explanation... Is there any interviewer with the balls out there to actually point out to him how his ideas for makign the movie is a far cry from the games? I mean if he just wants to do his own thing, just say so and retitle the movie and put an 'inspired by Uncharted' credit in the opening. I don't get all this bullshit that the story of the games have to be changed to be a movie. That logic only applies to old school games that had next to nothing in them. Uncharted is based on movies that have been successful with the premise of lone/couple treasure hunters. What the hell is he thinking? How do you get from there to here? At least when Christophe Gans made changes in Silent Hill he tried to justify them thematically and still keep in the stuff that made the games awesome. But whereas Silent Hill is about atmosphere and premise and the town... Uncharted is about Nathan Drake and its characters more so than its world. You don't change the important shit that makes the franchise what it is.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:54 p.m. CST

    I like O'Russell... but

    by boardbrtn

    I just don't think he's the right choice for Uncharted. It needs to have a real 80's Speilberg feel (IMO) to work. Something that's ready to take itself serious, but if you don't the material still works extremely well. That said, I think O'Russell could do it right, but I feel the direction he will go in will be "gritty" which could work, but it might move away from being an Uncharted game and more into a franchise that (could be good but) isn't Uncharted. We'll see; I don't entirely trust O'Russell yet.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:59 p.m. CST

    This guy could give a shit about Uncharted

    by tronknotts

    I don't even like the Uncharted games that much, but even I'm irritated that he's so clearly of the mind that movies > games, and therefore he can do whatever he wants with game source material, because videogames don't matter. He just wants to make a movie about whatever he wants, then slap the Uncharted name on it. That's a sure fire formula for a movie that pleases neither film fans or movie fans (see the Super Mario Bros. movie, the Street fighter movies, Prince of Persia movie, etc) It took Hollywood forever to take comic book adaptations seriously, despite the fact that characters like Spider-Man, Superman, The X-Men, Batman, etc have more than proved their staying power and meaning to Western culture. Those characters had to be around +30 years before they got the Hollywood treatment they deserved. I wonder if Uncharted, Super Mario, and Metal Gear will also have to wait +30 years before Hollywood deems them worth of adaptations that are true to the original vision that birthed them.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:03 p.m. CST

    as much as Nathan Fillion is charismatic, he ain't no action hero

    by stu_pickles

    what we need is Nathan Fillion's humor and charm and mesh it with someone who looks like they can jump from rooftop to rooftop whilst firing an AK at some mercs. I have no better suggestions however.

  • with new characters so we don't feel like the ones from the game have been bastardized and adapt a new story from the game's premise.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Good point, stu_pickles...

    by tronknotts

    but Nathan Drake doesn't look like he can jump from roofrop to rooftop while firing an AK at some mercs either. He looks like a regular guy, which is why people like him. Same with Fillion. Besides, I think Fillion did great with the action side of Slither and Serenity.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:22 p.m. CST

    tronknotts, i suppose

    by stu_pickles

    if they kind of play up the lucky but clumsy way that Drake kind of fumbles through danger and across exploding temples. But in my mind i imagine a more physical type actor. A guy who can fall and get back up. Fillion looks like he would be a bit slow back to his feet, ya know what i'm saying?

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Hey David O. Russell...

    by jimmy_009

    I hope you happen to follow up on this interview and read the responses regarding Uncharted. I know you'll just dismiss it as fanboy nerds raging out, but whatever. The point is you're completely off base on where you're headed with this. I know you don't think it's true, that you have some sort of vision, that somehow involves The Sopranos or some shit, but it's wrong. I very much hope this falls through and someone picks it up that actually understands and gives two shits about the franchise they are making a movie about.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:13 p.m. CST

    I hate being right all the time

    by Rebel Scumb

    I called the marky mark as Drake the day O Russell was hired for this movie. I really wish I had been wrong. If we take Fillion out of the running, you know who would of been great for Drake? and not even really due to looks, but because he has the persona and the right vibe? CHRIS PINE I thought he was great in star trek, a breath of fresh air in the wasteland of current movies that lack credible leading men. He's got the swagger and charm of a young harrison ford, and could be a huge star if he manages to get some other good roles besides star trek Uncharted (with a director that actually understands the source material) could be a perfect star vehicle for Pine, and really make him an A lister. Just like Indiana Jones helped Harrison Ford not just get type cast as Han Solo Hell, even Josh Holloway would be awesome, sure again the physical resemblence isn't perfect. But the guy has leading man charisma, women love him, guys think he is cool. He can be badass, romantic, funny. And he probably costs next to nothing at the moment.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:13 p.m. CST

    Actually come to think of it...

    by Rebel Scumb

    I wish JJ Abrams was writing/directing Uncharted. He seems like someone who would get it right. And the visual look of the LOST pilot would match Uncharted well.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:26 p.m. CST

    I really hate how in interviews

    by clupula

    Nobody seems to have the balls to call this prick out about how he obviously knows nothing about the Uncharted franchise. He wouldn't be the first director to think his vision is beyond that of the original source material, but it's pretty sad to see that how much of an ass kissing this interview is when it comes down to it.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:32 p.m. CST

    The sad thing is, I normally like David O Russell's movies

    by Rebel Scumb

    I thought he was an interesting choice for Uncharted, and thought maybe it meant it would be handled well. But as soon as all this family that dispenses justice crap came out... very irritating. I suppose on the plus side, Uncharted 3 is out this Autumn, and I'm sure it will be ten times the cinematic expirence that the uncharted (in name only) movie will be.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:43 p.m. CST

    It is amusing that he acts like

    by clupula

    the game won't be around (whatever that means) and his movie will stand the test of time, while with the plot he's currently talking about, people will not remember his movie six weeks after it comes out, while Uncharted 3 will have people calling for Uncharted 4.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:53 p.m. CST

    Best replies in thread EVER.

    by C A Iversen

    I'm actually really pleased with more than 90% of the responses. From openthepodbaydoorshal - who suggested "Eddie Cibrian". Brilliant casting idea, can act and looks like Drakes twin. Then Johnno, who basically summed up nearly everyone with what he had to say about the "family dynamic". After all, with what's come out with DeNiro and Pesci and no talk of Sully or Elena, it just seems crazy what he's doing so far. I respect David's directorial work, but he's seriously losing me with where the adaptation of the screenplay is going. Also, his casting is starting to go down the "cast friends" road, that always works for a couple of films and then goes bad. Video game and comic adaptations always work a lot better where they stick at least somewhat faithfully to the material and tone of the original, look at "Iron Man", "Spiderman", "Silent Hill". Okay Watchmen didn't make decent money, but outside of comic book fans it didn't have worldwide popular characters - it'll stand the test of time though. Then look at Doom, Max Payne, House Of The Dead and the Resident Evil films. Mutated and mangled versions of the original game storyline or characters. The man needs to stick to the established mythology and work within that framework. I seriously think Mark Wahlberg would be better cast as Drake's rival for a particular treasure (as the bad guys can be different obviously). I think he's best to look at the actual games plot and someone like Eddie Cibrian for Drake, before it's too late.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:08 p.m. CST

    exactly c a iversen

    by Rebel Scumb

    I could even live with all this family talk if he even once mentioned sully or ilana in his interviews. The charm of the main trio is what makes the games so enduring. Same as spock/kirk/mccoy or han/luke/leia or harry/ron/hermoine etc etc

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:08 p.m. CST

    I bet he doesnt use the memorable musocal score either

    by Rebel Scumb

    such a great iconic theme filled with heart, adventure, romance, instantly humable...

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:12 p.m. CST

    i feel as if when Russell says "like The Sopranos"

    by stu_pickles

    he meant more about the mentality of the treasure hunters, similar to being like the mafia or something. Now that i write this it becomes clear that it is originating in my asshole, but... if he means that it is a group of people who see themselves outside the law, and when one does something wrong they handle it amongst themselves then sure, Drake, Sullie and folk are kind of like the mafia. It's a brotherhood more than a "family". so yeah, Russel, we did misinterpret your statement. and thanks for clearing it up later in the interview so we all dont think youre an idiot like me.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 12:19 a.m. CST

    A request to Mr. Russell

    by M Patel

    I have posted this on other forums on the Net and am copying this plea here as well. I'm not sure if Mr. Russell would actually deign to listen to us ordinary folk, but I hope he at least reads and considers the following two requests: Can you please: (1) Change the name of the protagonist from Nathan Drake to something else. (2) Change the name of the movie from Uncharted to something else. That should just about do it. Thanks for reading this far. Regards, M. Patel

  • Mark my words. I like O. Russel's work. But they couldn't have chosen a worse director for this material. Marky Mark deserved an academy award for his performance in russel's Huckabees. But there's just no way in hell Marky Mark is gonna make a good Drake. No Way. Worst thing is Russel tells in this interview he's glad to be back on his feet and I'm happy for him. But his raping of uncharted will put his stock way below Uwe Boll. "But I think I could make that that into a world that has a family dynamic in it akin to "The Sopranos" or akin to other worlds" This just says it all, I mean what the fuck!!!!

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 3:06 a.m. CST

    O'Russel... Biggest Douche in the Universe.

    by Bob

    First, he's fucking clueless. CLUELESS! about Uncharted. Talk about sinking a franchise before it starts. He's never played the game, probably never even watched more than 5 min of it. If he did, he might understand better, but his giant fucking ego could care less. He's not visionary, he's a sack of shit. He called Lilly Tomlin a CUNT to her face. Yes she was being a bitch. But man, you don't go the C-word on any female actress. Well, apparently you do, and can get away with it. But it shows what an pussy bitch O'Russel is. If you don't believe me, youtube search "I Dont Heart Huckabees" to see what i mean. I wish Clooney's beat down of O'Russel had been caught on film. Would have been priceless. If he wants to make a movie like this, call it something else. Not Uncharted. Because that's not what you're making. This has turd-bomb all over it. The entire Uncharted fan base hate's everything about it. Hope this get's stuck in development hell till O'Russel drops out, or Sony wisely rejects he screenplay or flat out dumps him.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 6:55 a.m. CST

    man.the.king has the right idea

    by Rebel Scumb

    The movie is a lost cause, the best solution would be if they could just divorce it from Uncharted. Then it would just be a David O russell marky mark action movie. and who knows, might even be entertaining, but at least it wouldn't have tainted uncharted in the process.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 3:23 p.m. CST

    After more serious thought....

    by tronknotts

    I realise that they should make this movie that O. Russel wants to do, but just not call it "Uncharted". If I heard that he wanted to do a movie about a family of relic hunters that was called "A family of relic hunters", I'd probably be pretty excited. Knowing that he's trying to shoehorn his own ideas into the Uncharted brand just seems cheap and lame. The guy has enough clout to make whatever movie he wants, right? Why can't he jsut make his movie and leave the "Uncharted" name out of it?

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 6:54 p.m. CST

    Agreed tronknotts

    by Rebel Scumb

    Especially since he seems to hold videogames in such contempt. Why not just create his own franchise, which he would also then own th erights to. Its a no brainer. Uncharted is popular, but not a household name he needs to attach his star to. And the only reason to make an uncharted movie, is to do it because you love the original property.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 6:30 a.m. CST

    1, 5 or even 10 of us could be wrong, but all?

    by C A Iversen

    Nearly everyone here feels the same about this. He should come back on here or go to the Naughty Dog Forums or something and ask the fans what the most important aspects of Uncharted are for us. Obviously from what I'm reading here, it's Nathan Drake being Drake, looking like Drake and not being Mark Wahlberg (and yes I like the guy too). Other important things are......gee I dunno, Sully and Elena. The games brilliant score. Drakes personal history. His climbing and hang-on skills. He's not a pussy when it comes to having to shoot his way out of trouble. His problem solving, his general knowledge of history. The back stabbing Harry and Chloe. This is no ordinary game movie. It's one of the greatest and most honoured by awards games ever produced. It needs better than what's happening.

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Think him and Bale bonded over their youtube rants?

    by SK229

    Come on, you KNOW it came up very early on.