I, being a massive fan of the game series, was thrilled (and a little weary), when I heard it was being turned into a movie. I held my trepidation, keeping an open mind and low expectations.
But then… the trailer was released… and my hopes for any merit being done to the games was not just dashed but pissed on, set on fire and left to die, on an ant hill.
I don’t want to hate on Tom Holland by any means, he’s adorable, but in no World is he or can he be Nathan Drake (AKA Nathan Break for the Jacksepticeye stans). The casting on this is so miss that it is baffling, and leaving Uncharted fans across the globe frustrated and feeling unheard and dishonored. Tom Holland doesn’t look remotely like Drake, definitely doesn’t sound like him, and does not in any way carry like Nathan Drake. It is almost like they are more concerned with putting a fresh trending face in their film than actually getting it right, or honoring the character, and franchise, in any way.
Nathan Drake is hard; he was very literally an orphaned street kid. He is obnoxious, crass, snarky, arrogant, annoyingly charming, and all of the things Tom Holland is not, now, don’t get me wrong, for most actors this would be an excellent chance to get out from the typecast thumb and show what range they are capable of but after seeing the trailer… that isn’t what happened. It was bad casting, plain and simple.
Okay, we hear you, Holland doesn’t suit the role to a tee, but why is that bad? Well, that leads to an interesting response, because – Ageism. Fans were extremely vocal from early stage development that they wanted to see Nathan Fillion in the role, not just because he looks, sounds, and acts like Nathan Drake, but because he starred in a fan created short film and absolutely encompassed Nathan Drake to the core, even slipping in a fan beloved, “Oh Crap”.
So, why not cast Fillion? Good question, well, Nathan Drake is supposed to be 25-30 at the time this movie takes place… and well, Nathan Fillion is 50. If they decide to do sequels that would leave Fillion even older… and heaven forbid we let old people star in leading roles. Even if it is what the existing franchise fans want, and deserve.
And it doesn’t end with Nathan Drake, fans are showing distaste over other casting roles, such as Mark Wahlberg as Sully. Most notably, the apparent lack of the 70s Magnum PI ‘stache fans have come to love. Mark isn’t nearly as awful a fit though, but being older, they probably didn’t need to force a trending actor into the spot.
Let’s be honest here, the issue is not just the ageism that stopped Nathan Fillion from being cast in the role he was born for, though that is certainly a never-ending stain on Hollywood as is, but that the casting directors did absolutely nothing to attempt to find a suitable replacement. There are a ton of actors in the age range they wanted that would have been a better fit than either Holland or Wahlberg, Austin North or Colin Ford come to mind or hell, even Drake voice actor, Nolan North, would have made a more suitable Nathan Drake, oh no, but he is also 50, can’t have that, it is the lack of attempt to bring any of the personal charm from the characters in the game series that makes it really difficult to believe that any other aspect of Uncharted is going to appear in the film. And that isn’t an unfair assumption having watched the trailer.
If you haven’t played the games, or watched the walkthroughs, go ahead and see the movie, as a standalone it doesn’t look awful, but if you love the game series like I do, save yourself a buck and watch the Uncharted movie we deserve, instead: