David O. Russell to direct 'Uncharted'

6:28 PM PST 10/08/2010 by Gregg Kilday, Jay A. Fernandez

Action-adventure tale next for 'The Fighter' helmer

David O. Russell has closed a deal to write and direct "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune," an adaptation of the 2007 PlayStation 3 video game, for Columbia Pictures.

Back in May, Russell first flirted with the project, but then moved on to develop a big-screen adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies."

But his quest to direct the PS3 game adaptation pulled him back in, leaving "Zombies," for the moment, undead.

Despite making his somewhat combative reputation with left-of-center indie films such as "Spanking the Monkey," "Flirting With Disaster" and "I Heart Huckabees," Russell appears to be making a serious move into bigger-budget mainstream movies. His next film, the boxing drama "The Fighter" from Paramount, comes out December.

In the mold of epic adventure films like "Tomb Raider" and "Indiana Jones," the "Uncharted" game's storyline follows a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, Nathan Drake, as he searches for the treasure of El Dorado on a desert island with a friend and a female journalist.

The game itself was developed by Naughty Dog and is one of Sony Computer Entertainment's best-selling games for the PS3. It sold one million copies in the first 10 weeks of its release at the end of 2007 and went on to sell 2.6 million copies and spawn an even more successful sequel, "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves."

"Sahara" writers Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer wrote earlier versions of the screenplay.

Avi Arad, Charles Roven and Alex Gartner are producing the film, which was announced by Columbia presidents Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, the latter of whom said, "David is a tremendous choice to take on this film. He's equally adept at combining all the classic elements involved in this property: great character development, strong comedy and amazing action sequences. He has a brilliant vision for this material and we know he will bring his original, unique voice to this adaptation."

"Uncharted" will be overseen for the studio by Tolmach and Jonathan Kadin.

The CAA-repped Russell most recently co-wrote and directed the comedy "Nailed," which is yet to be released. He has another original story, "Old St. Louis," in development with Vince Vaughn's production company, Wild West Picture Show Prods.
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