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‘Uncharted’: We spoke to the Portuguese, who is starring in the Hollywood mega production

The video game saga Uncharted, which began on PlayStation 3 in 2007, is one of the most popular of recent years. The various games were very well received by the general public, but also by players and professional critics.

In 2020, filming began on the film adaptation of “Uncharted”. The result can be seen in Portuguese cinemas from this Thursday, February 17th. It’s a prequel that focuses on the origins of Nathan Drake, who was recruited by Victor “Sully” Sullivan to win back a massive fortune.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the film brings together actors such as Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Pilou Asbæk, Sophia Ali, Rudy Pankow and Tati Gabrielle. Also on the list is Portuguese David Chan Cordeiro, a professional double who has a small role in the story.

The scene he enters, he explains to NiT, is an action sequence where he plays a mercenary. He struggles with the protagonist Nathan Drake, the character of Tom Holland, but in fact the vast majority of the scenes were shot with the actor’s double. This sequence was significantly reduced in the montage.

“People show up and kill us right away, but it happens,” explains David Chan Cordeiro, who was hired as a stunt performer and stunt rigger for the project. “They specifically asked you to have combat skills and assemble the cables that the actors hang from.”

In addition to his skills and contacts in the industry, David Chan Cordeiro had a very important quality: an “Asian look”. Born in Portimão, the double is the son of a Chinese mother and a Portuguese father. “There aren’t many offers in Europe from people with my looks and my abilities, so it was the alignment of the planets when fortune meets opportunity.”

David Chan Cordeiro worked on the set of Uncharted between seven and eight weeks in September and October 2020. “When they invited me, I was doing ‘Glória’ for Netflix. So I took off, informed the producers, had a team on standby and went to Berlin.”

David Chan Cordeiro started martial arts at the age of 9.

In the narrative, he played a one-dimensional mercenary with no backstory. “I would like to be able to say that I have a backstory, that I have a family, but I was just another mercenary [risos]. By the way, I think it was Söldner 17 or 18 in the service record. Interestingly, my role grew and gained more shares. I was just hanging by a rope, but then they wanted me to shoot the actor. And then they wanted me to fight the actor. I even had a moment of interaction with Tom Holland.” However, much of this was cut in the edit.

Behind the cameras, on the recording set, he had to prepare numerous cables for the actors to hang from and make certain movements. “I had never seen wiring like this before. Hundreds of cables were hanging, it was no longer possible to see which line went where. We were about 20 riggers in that sequence alone and they were still trying to get more people.”

The double, who has worked on a number of international projects, says it was the biggest and biggest budget film he’s worked on. And that was reflected in the way we worked. “With this project, the pressure on the back to make it true to the game was so great that there wasn’t a lot of room for error. Mistakes are not very tolerated. And this makes everyone very attentive, there are no conversations here, there are no distracted people. Even more so when the actor arrived: everything was so quiet, as if it were a military train.”

The dimension was also huge. “They arrived on set and saw a ship several meters tall, resting on hydraulics. The hydraulics simulate the rocking of the ship, they weigh tons, with 200 people around you only see blue chroma everywhere. I had never seen this scale before. It was the biggest project I’ve done so far in terms of budget. I can cross that off my checklist now.”

David Chan Cordeiro never played the Uncharted games, but he knew the saga. “I stopped being a player a few years ago. Most of what I know about this universe, closest would be Tomb Raider, but I know that kind of game. I’ve heard great things about Uncharted. When my colleagues found out about this, they got tired of asking me questions. They knew the whole game, they asked me if I was a coastal mercenary, I didn’t even know what it was.”

Also, according to David Chan Cordeiro, the stunt coordinators who coordinate and define all the action didn’t play the games. But they watched hundreds of YouTube videos to understand the dynamics. The team included heavyweights like Keir Beck (“Mad Max” or “The Hero of Hacksaw Ridge”), Wayne Dalglish (“Wonder Woman” and “Thor”), Richard Burden (“The Dark Knight”), Jimmy Chhiu (“Deadpool ‘ and ‘Free Guy’) and Ryan Hanna (‘John Wick’ and ‘Mulan’). “I had never seen so many coordinators in a film: there were four present, one more for performances, one for fights and one of the best in the world.”

All people involved in the film – as actors, extras or stunts – were also subjected to an initial process in a “darkroom”. They entered a sphere surrounded by about 100 DSLR cameras that take 360-degree images of the body. If necessary, they can use special effects in post-production to artificially move a specific character.

“But I also say: That doesn’t take the fun out of the little film,” adds David Chan Cordeiro. “Because there are pros and cons: With smaller films, there aren’t as many people making decisions, so maybe you have more creative freedom. Of course you have money with this project. When they say “We need more X-Mercenaries” or “We need to build this part in a way that it can be duplicated,” just say the deadlines and things happen.”

Also read the NiT article about the story (and career) of David Chan Cordeiro, the greatest Portuguese stuntman working in Hollywood but also dominating the national market.

Click on the gallery to discover other big films premiering in Portugal in the near future.

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