Posted on Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
Gore Verbinski is one of those directors who fills his plate with so many projects, that you’re not quite sure which ones, if any of them, will actually go into production. I think right now Verbinski is attached to produce an American remake of The Host , direct a segment of Heavy Metal , a live-action adaptation of the board game Clue , a film about a married guy who spends too much time with an MMORPG , a cowboy drama titled Big Hole, a big screen adaptation of BioShock, and Pirates of the Caribbean 4. So what is Verbinski going to do next?
Variety reports that Verbinski is going head first into the big screen adaptation of the popular video game BioShock which was announced almost a year ago. Verbinski informed producer Jerry Bruckheimer that he will not be in the director’s chair for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, which is expected to go into production in 2010. At the Walt Disney Presentation in September, it was announced that Johnny Depp was signed on for a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, and while it was widely known that Verbinski wasn’t interested in doing another Pirates film, everyone just assumed he would return for one more.
“I had a fantastic time bringing ‘Pirates’ to life, and I am eternally grateful to Jerry, Johnny and the rest of the creative and production team,” Verbinski said. “I’m looking forward to all of us crossing paths again in the future.”
Aviator screenwriter John Logan penned the script. Logan’s filmography also includes Any Given Sunday, Gladiator, The Last Samurai and Sweeney Todd. Take-Two Interactive is getting a multimillion-dollar advance against gross points on the film. It is believed to be the biggest video game-to-movie deal since the infamous aborted Halo movie deal between Universal and Fox, for which Microsoft got $5 million against 10%. The BioShock deal is structured in a way ensuring the movie won’t end up in turnaround.
Since it’s release in August, Hollywood has eyeing a big screen adaptation of this popular first-person shooter. Praised for its morality-based storyline, immersive environment and Ayn Rand-inspired dystopian setting, the game has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, and ranks as the thirteenth best video game on Game Rankings. Set in an alternative history 1960, BioShock follows the story of a plane crash survivor named Jack, who must explore the underwater Objectivist-dystopian city of Rapture, and survive attacks by the mutated beings and mechanical drones that populate it. Jack is drawn into a power struggle during which he discovers that his will is not as free as he’d thought.
Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro has praised the game:
“I love BIOSHOCK from a design point of view,” said del Toro. “The BIOSHOCK universe is indeed wonderful.”
The visuals are certainly cinematic enough for a big budget film, and critics have praised the game for it’s story, something not common in the video game field. Verbinski noted that Rapture’s art deco design and visually arresting characters attracted him to the project.
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“I think the whole utopia-gone-wrong story that’s cleverly unveiled to players is just brimming with cinematic potential,” said Verbinski. “Of all the games I’ve played, this is one that I felt has a really strong narrative.