Video game fans and Marvel fans are merging next week as the new Uncharted movie premieres, which is starring Spider-Man: No Way Home actor Tom Holland and is based on the beloved Playstation video games of the same name. Tom Holland has already revealed some tidbits about the film, which premieres on February 17 in theaters and also includes Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan or “Sully”, but the English actor also just spoke on the Empire Film Podcast and provided some more insight into his role (including how he bulked up for it)!
The video games that Uncharted is based on are a series of six award-winning Naughty Dog video games that star treasure hunter and adventurer Nathan Drake as he travels the world finding treasures and fighting off bad guys — with the help of his friends Chloe Frazer and Charlie Cutter, his father figure Victor Sullivan, his brother Samuel Drake, and his wife Elena Fisher. The new Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg Uncharted movie is a prequel to the video game series, with only Chloe Frazer, Nate’s brother Sam Drake, and Victor Sullivan making appearances that we know of.
Tom revealed on the podcast that he actually actively pursued the role with Sony while filming Spider-Man: Homecoming! “It’s an interesting story, actually,” he recounted. “I was playing ‘Uncharted 4’ while we were shooting the sequence in Spider-Man: Homecoming where I fall through the elevator shaft”. Sony apparently provides Playstations to the actors as “one of the luxuries” provided, so Tom and his best friend started playing the Naughty Dog video game while waiting for the stunt to be prepared.
Fans of the video games series have often pointed out that “they are so cinematic”, and that unique experience in a video game was not lost on Tom Holland either. The young English actor remembered thinking “wow, this would make an amazing movie…the story is so compelling.”
Tom then looked into any ongoing plans to make a movie about Nathan Drake, and was pleased to see that “Sony had the rights” but also saw that actor Ryan Reynolds was set to play Nate so far. While the movie was languishing in development — which is something that it is famous for since it is, according to Tom, “a film that they have been trying to make for a very long time” — Tom had also been trying to get Sony to make “a young Bond film”. That idea sparked the idea to switch the Uncharted project to a prequel about young Nate, and Tom ended up taking the lead role instead of Ryan Reynolds.
Tom said that he considered replacing Reynolds to be “the highest form of flattery” because “he’s as handsome as it gets”, but ironically Mark Wahlberg was also going to play Nathan Drake at one point! Tom joked that his co-star “got old”, which is why he now plays Sully. There was a “huge prep process working on the script and the aesthetic” that took five years, Tom said, meaning that this Uncharted movie took even longer to make than the initial years and years of development that it had already endured.
Right after getting the green light to finally start production on the Uncharted film, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic began. There was a silver lining to the delay, however; Tom Holland is known for his small stature, which was only exacerbated by co-stars like his real-life girlfriend Zendaya and her height — and apparently, the disparity between Tom’s build and Mark Wahlberg’s was very obvious in that one day on the Uncharted set! “I showed up to work and Mark was like three times the size of me; he is so massive and I looked like his twelve-year-old son,” Tom remembered on the podcast. “So I took the five-month break to eat and train, eat and train, eat and train every day. I put on as much weight as I could. I actually really enjoyed it”, Tom said.
As a ballet dancer and gymnast, Tom’s smaller body type is one that his fans are typically familiar with — but his new muscular stature caused quite a stir when the first pictures of his Nathan Drake were released. Even if Tom hadn’t managed to train enough to be as muscular as action movie star Mark Wahlberg, he joked that he would have just re-used his “Spider-man muscle suit”.
While discussing the new action-adventure and treasure hunt movie, Tom’s excitement about the film was noticeable. “It’s always an exciting time,” he said about the premiere’s approach. “We work our hardest to make these films what they are. You are the people we make these films for; we want you guys to be able to escape, to enjoy the cinema-going experience, and to see something you haven’t seen before. And Uncharted, while it is paying respects to some of my favorite movies — you know, the Mission Impossibles, the Indiana Jones-es, the James Bonds of the world, it does have a certain quality to it that is incredibly unique. So for me, I’m six days out and I’m counting down the days [to the premiere]. I’ve made films before where I’m like ‘can we just keep pushing it and pushing it until – just put it in the bins'”.
But this time, Tom said that he is “incredibly excited. I feel proud of the movie. Mark Wahlberg and I have had a wonderful time making this movie, and I hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did making it”.
Tom also shared a fun fact for Playstation video gamers who are familiar with the puzzles and treasure hunts that permeate the video games’ plots! Although the puzzle scenes are apparently “a lot of fun”, Tom said that they are “also incredibly frustrating. To come up with the puzzles is really difficult”. Since it’s expensive to rent movie sets, there’s a constant rush to get scenes done, but Tom revealed that he’d actually had to put his foot down when the filmmakers wanted to dumb down one particular treasure hunting scene in order to break the set down and move on. “There was an x on the map [in the scene],” Tom said, expressing dismay at the simplistic plot point.
Since “five billion dollars worth of treasure” from “500 years ago” wouldn’t just have had an x on a map leading to the gold, Tom and his co-workers kept fighting to make the puzzles for the treasure hunt more elaborate. “Weeks and weeks and weeks and we were pushing this scene back, Sony was so angry at us because we can’t break this set down,” Tom remembered. But in the end, he said that “it’s a sequence that I’m very proud of”. Uncharted premieres in theaters on February 17, and it also stars Sophia Ali as Chloe Frazer, Tati Gabrielle as Braddock, and Antonio Banderas as the villain Moncada!