David O. Russell Out as 'Uncharted' Director

Video game adaptation centers on a search for El Dorado complicated by Spanish/Nazi mutant creatures.
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Uncharted is back in uncharted waters.

David O. Russell who was writing and attached to direct the adaptation of the Uncharted: Drake's Fortune video game has parted ways with Columbia Pictures, which is now on the hunt for a new filmmaker or new writers.

The premise of the video game is thus: a treasure hunter named Nate Drake -- a descendent of explorer Sir Francis Drake -- believes he has learned the whereabouts of the fabled golden South American city El Dorado from a cursed statue. His search for El Dorado becomes competitive when a rival hunter joins the fray, then is racheted up several notches when creatures -- actually mutated descendants of Spaniards and Nazis -- begin attacking those hoping to learn the treasure's true secrets.

According to insiders, one reason for the split was Russell, who was hoping to reteam on the project with his Fighter star Mark Wahlberg, submitted a 200-page draft to the studio with a slew of new characters that did not appear in the video game.

This departure shows how difficult it is to develop video games into movies and how the genre, despite such hits as the Resident Evil flicks, is still in its early gestation.

Writing duo Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer worked on the project before Russell came on board.

Sources indicate that while a new scribe will be sought, the studio is not starting from scratch. The Donnelly-Oppenheimer script has much love within the studio and may be used as a foundation.

Avi Arad, Charles Roven, Ari Arad and Alex Gartner are producing.