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‘BioShock’ movie still happening, says game’s creative director

Will Perkins
Wide Screen
May 7, 2012

Back in 2008, "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski tried to get a film based on the popular video game "BioShock" made -- and he failed. With the kind of clout that Verbinski had earned thanks to the "Pirates" films, you'd think he'd be able to get anything made, but apparently the "BioShock" movie was an exception.

The award-winning game from studio Irrational Games (then 2K Boston) put players in the role of a survivor of a mid-Atlantic plane crash in an alternate 1960. The survivor finds himself trapped in a fantastic underwater city called Rapture, a place originally envisioned by its creator as a capitalist utopia, now nothing more than a ruined dystopia full of horrible mutants thanks to laissez-faire run amok. Oh, capitalism. Always creating mutant freaks!

The underwater setting and deep philosophical themes found in "BioShock" set the game apart when it was released back in 2007, garnering both critical praise and financial success. Given that success, talk of a movie soon followed, but for a number of reasons the film never materialized. Despite everything about the game lending itself well to the big screen, the "BioShock" movie now seems to be in what the industry calls "development hell." After Verbinski left the project as director, filmmaker Juan Carlos Fresnadillo ("28 Weeks Later") was briefly attached to "BioShock" before moving off as well.

For his part, Verbinski blamed the film's backers for not wanting to finance what would inevitably be an R-rated film.

"It's a movie that has to be really, really scary, but you also have to create a whole underwater world, so the price tag is high." Verbinski told Comingsoon.net back in February. "We just didn't have any takers on an R-rated movie with that pricetag."

"BioShock" is just a video game movie, after all. It couldn't be rated "R" because only kids play video games, right? It's the kind of logic that only makes sense to a middle-aged studio executive, the kind of suit who doesn't seem to realize that most gamers are between the ages of 18 and 35.

The "BioShock" movie may happen yet, though, studio executives be damned. Yesterday the hopes of gamers were at once raised and then dashed when an extremely cool -- but, sadly, fan-made -- teaser poster for the film appeared on Reddit. The resulting internet fervour led to "BioShock" trending on Twitter, and proved that there most definitely is an audience for a film based on the game.

The poster may have been fake, but Irrational Games seems dead set on getting their game adapted for the big screen. In a recent interview with Edge Magazine, Irrational's creative director Ken Levine (who wrote the "BioShock" game) says that despite numerous setbacks, the film version of "BioShock" is still in the works.

"The thing with Gore [Verbinski] didn't work out, but there's no such thing as 'it's finished' when it comes to making a movie out of something," Levine said. "It's always about the stars aligning."

Irrational wants it and the fans want it. If "BioShock" can surmount the obvious budget challenges and find a solid director (both important ingredients for any movie), maybe the film will finally get off the ground. Or is it get undersea?

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