TORONTO – Edmonton-born actor Nathan Fillion is mapping out his own “Uncharted” course.
On Monday, he and Toronto director Allan Ungar unveiled a short “fan film” adaptation of the popular PlayStation video game “Uncharted” on YouTube, with Fillion in the lead role of treasure hunter Nathan (Nate) Drake.
Many “Uncharted” fans have long wished for the former “Castle” star to play the adventurer/thief, noting they share a similar look and mix of brawn and humour.
The actor himself has also long wanted to play Nathan Drake.
Yet in the years that a big-screen version has been in development at Sony, Fillion’s name hasn’t been attached.
Perhaps that will change with this surprise new project, which is in no way associated with Sony or “Uncharted” video-game developer Naughty Dog, they say.
“There’s that little part of every one of us that safety-pinned a towel around our necks so that we could fly as a kid — that’s the itch that’s being scratched inside of me with this project,” Fillion, who recently teased the idea on his Instagram account, said Monday in a phone interview.
“It’s the ‘Indiana Jones’ that we’ve all been waiting for.”
Both Fillion and Ungar said they’ve been fans of the video game since it launched in 2007.
“It’s a character that I love, it’s a character that is flawed, it’s a character that I can relate to,” Fillion said.
“What’s so great and wonderful about ‘Uncharted’ is that it’s like a movie — you are immersed in a film,” added Ungar.
Toronto producer Alex Lebovici introduced Fillion to Ungar, who came up with the idea for the short. He also directed the 15-minute fan film and co-wrote it with Jesse Wheeler.
Ungar said he wanted to focus on the story and the character’s heart and humour rather than “big set pieces, exotic locales, explosions and action.”
They shot it over five days in May in Los Angeles, with a cast that also includes Stephen Lang as mentor Victor (Sully) Sullivan, Mircea Monroe as journalist Elena Fisher, and Geno Segers as the villain.
The fan film sees Nathan Drake, wearing his signature shoulder holster, being held captive and hunting treasure in the Baja Peninsula, Mexico.
“When you’re watching a superhero movie and you’re seeing the montage of the donning of the equipment … that was me in my mind getting changed every day for this project,” said Fillion, who played Capt. Malcolm Reynolds in the series “Firefly” and its feature film continuation, “Serenity.”
“Doing this project for me with Allan and just having all this fun, to me it’s like buying a lottery ticket. I don’t expect to win the lottery but I still have an amazing time.”
As for the odds of winning that jackpot and turning the short film into a big-screen movie?
Fillion and Ungar aren’t speculating.
“When we first sat down and spoke about this, I think we agreed that no matter what happens, this is what we set out to accomplish,” Ungar said.
“We don’t want to cheapen what we did, which was a love letter to this incredible property, a love letter to fans who have wanted to see something,” added Fillion.
“We’ve wanted to see something for 10 years. It’s been a long time. I’m super excited to see what Sony has (in store), I’m super excited to go watch any ‘Uncharted’ movie. I’m a fan — I just got a little tired of waiting.”