A short while back we thought we had the green light on BioShock’s production — Gore Verbinski was discarding the Pirates 4 project and everything looked set to go. Shortly after Universal put the project on hold because of spiraling budgets of +£160m.
Now Verbinski tells the LA Times:
The bottom line is [BioShock] has to shoot out of the States for budget reasons and my schedule may be prohibitive. There’s a great script and a really interesting cast. It really comes down to the financial model now. Big movies are just not being shot in the States. I’m weighing whether I can physically go the U.K. or Australia or one of those other places with a tax rebate for a year-and-a-half.
It’s now highly questionable that Gore Verbinski will eventually helm the BioShock adaptation.
Just a couple of weeks after we heard the encouraging Gore Verbinski news we receive a bomb-shell from Universal Studios. It appears that the budget for the underwater feature has been spiraling out of control, reaching values around $160m, and in a move to cut costs (to say $100m) a number of production staff have been let go. Other measures include scouting for cheaper filming locations, e.g. London.
“We were asked by Universal to move the film outside the U.S. to take advantage of a tax credit. […] We are evaluating whether this is something we want to do. In the meantime, the film is in a holding pattern.”
Both the game and movie studios vow that this will not descend into another Halo movie fiasco which has seen production indefinitely halted.
It was previously rumored that Verbinski would be helming the project, but here is the big news we’ve been waiting for — he has given up his directing chair on Pirates of the Caribbean 4 to take on the BioShock project — Gore Verbinski shall be helming the video game adaptation. Verbinski directed all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies as well as the US Ring remake.
A year since the announcement that a movie would be made it looks like the ball might soon be rolling into the realms of pre-production.
Variety have confirmed many Hollywood murmurings that a BioShock movie is, now officially, in the works. Universal Studios have picked up the video game adaptation with Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) set to direct. It is also thought that Last Samurai and Aviator screenwriter, John Logan, is currently in talks.
The agreement between movie and game studios has been structured to avoid the collapse that the Halo movie adaptation fell to,
Take-Two executive chairman Strauss Zelnick said the “state of the art” deal is structured so that “Bioshock” won’t end up in turnaround like “Halo,” which is back with Microsoft.
“The reason I structured it the way I did is to make sure it gets made,” he emphasized.
The article then provides some background to the agreement whilst implying that the creative minds involved hope to stay true to the game.
Take-Two has been approached by a number of producers and studios since the game came out in August but waited until it had swept most of the end-of-year industry awards and racked up impressive holiday sales before working with CAA to package the project. Universal got a first look and made a preemptive bid.
“One of the things we decided early on is that we didn’t want to go through a producer,” he commented. “It’s terribly important to us to have a meaningful influence on how this project is produced. We didn’t want any insulation between us.”
Verbinski noted that Rapture’s art deco design and visually arresting characters, such as the mechanical Big Daddys who protect genetically mutated girls called Little Sisters, particularly inspired him to see the game as a film.
Though no release date is even being targeted, Verbinski said he plans to start pre-production as soon as Logan’s script is finished and approved by all involved.
Helmer has been regularly consulting with Ken Levine, the game’s creative director, though it’s not yet clear if the game developer will have a formal role in the film.
All in all, the signs look very good for an exciting and faithful video game adaptation, especially with the talents of Verbinski and Logan on board.