The first week of November marks the release of what has fast become Sony Entertainment's biggest first party title. 'Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception' rounds off a trilogy that has evolved from the PS3's answer to 'Gears Of War' into a directorial milestone that has redefined the capability of video games to deliver a blockbuster experience. Ed Zwick ('Blood Diamond', 'Love And Other Drugs') has expressed his support for the game, going on to consider its theme of the hero and the everyman within a special documentary featuring Michelle Rodriguez, Sam Rockwell and Djimon Hounsou. 'Uncharted' is a series synonymous with pushing the boundaries between cinema and console, Ed Zwick took time out of his busy writing schedule to tell us his thoughts on the progression of both forms of entertainment and its effect on the vision of the heroism:
So we've seen the documentary which explores the notion of the hero, who would you define as your own personal hero?
I have so many! People that I have met growing up, not necessarilly of any renown. Obviously there are those heroes from history all the way from Abraham Lincoln to the present day. There is those in the field of sports. I think if you are a kid growing up with any awareness of the society we live in, all of these heroes are a part of your education. They are something to aspire to and something to galvanise you to open your eyes to the possibilities of the world.
Within the short film and your work in the past the anti-hero and his redemption is a strong theme. Are there any cinematic characters who you feel are the ultimate embodiement of that motif?
It's funny a movie I saw very recently was one that I very much loved by this teacher called The General De La Rovada. Furthering that there is John Forb's Quiet Man, the Frank Capra characters, even Laurence Of Arabia. There are so many!
It takes a strong lead to truly portray a hero, you've worked with a fair few over the years, who do you feel has prevailed the most within the role?
That's a very difficult question as for me that is like asking a parent to pick amongst his children. Fortunately I've been in the position to indulge in great collaborations with Denzel Washingston and Leonardo DiCaprio, I've had a the wonderful experience of working with Daniel Craig and I joined Matt Damon on one of his very first movies. These are all such hugely talented people that I can't really decide amongst them as they fill the role perfectly and I feel privileged to have worked amongst them.
In your work there is often a strong female character either joing the male hero in his role or supporting him on his journey. Are there any definitive female actresses you see within the role?
Someone I met very young but I've never been able to work with is Meryl Streep and I adore her! I find her able to get very quickly to the complexities of the characters that she plays, I really appreciate that as she brings so much power to her parts.
Throughout your catalogue of work the hero is often faced by political and cultural issues as opposed to a generic evil. Which issue has effected you the most in your career?
Glory resonated in my life for a very long time, I think when I worked on Courage Under Fire I thought a lot about the role of the military and the process of accountability, whereas I also learned a great deal from The Siege on law enforcement and jurisprudence. Most recently I think Blood Diamond was very important, it led me to a group called Global Witness in England whom I very much respect and on whose board I'm going to serve. Therefore I have remained very close to that particular issue.
How do you think the invention of video games putting the power of interaction in the hands of the audience has redefined the hero?
I think by and large it has probably been an impediment to a more sophisticated understanding of the hero and the reason I've been interested in what the creators of Uncharted are doing is the fact that they are adding complexity to that particular presentation. It is that complexity that really defines the hero as without it he is in many ways an empty vessell. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of interactivity in relation to storytelling is the prospect of choices that the player and the hero may face in shaping the story.
There has been a bit of a debate over the last few years as to whether video games can be considered an art form, in light of new developments has that plateau been reached?
They are not yet an art form. I think it's very hard to imagine doing something that is so generic as to be artful within the medium, although the techniques are indeed increasingly artful. I believe whole heartedly that they have the potential, I just don't think they are quite yet in that place.
Boundaries between the mediums of film and video games have blurred continously over the last few years, if clearly defined where do those boundaries lie?
I believe that storytelling is in some fundamental way a more passive experience on the part of the viewer and that's a good thing, but you surrender a certain amount of your brain activity to engage your imagination so as to let these things penetrate. I think if you are so active within your own role that your negative capability within the story is inhibited, that is the real difference.
A factor that both video games and movies have in common especially in recent times is the role of the everyman often combined with the anti-hero, has this left the notion of the perfect hero obsolete?
Ironically the perfect hero has almost been more evident in recent times. Within a certain demographic of cinema comic books have led to an unfortunate rennaissance of the superhero. Certainly the portrayal of some are much more comic and interesting, but there are others that seem almost seem to be a throwback to the comics of the 30s and 40s. So while I think the everyman is still particularly evident, the revitalisation of the superhero genre has also ressurected the notion of a less complex hero.
Considering recent developments within both mediums what perhaps is the next step (other than 3d)?
I'm sure that the total sensory experience leading to increased immersion will only grow in the future. There is a clear emphasis on that, I'm not sure it's necessarilly the right place, but I believe that is where the next innovation will come from.
What advice would you give to any aspiring directors/writers/filmmakers out there?
I would only say there are many people who consider themselves writers who don't really write, directors who don't really direct. Only in the doing of it do you really discover whether you have what it real takes in terms of discipline and talent. For practical application there is no substitute.
Must buy games for Christmas...