R-Rated BioShock Movie Was Very Close To Happening, Ex-Director Says
"I wanted to keep it R-rated; I felt like that would be appropriate, and it's an expensive movie."
Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski was at one point attached to direct a BioShock movie. For a number of reasons, the film never happened. Now, the director has revealed that his version of the movie was canceled just eight weeks before it was set to start production.
In a Reddit AMA this week promoting his new movie, A Cure For Wellness, Verbinski revealed that and spoke about why his version of BioShock movie was canceled.
"I wanted to keep it R-rated; I felt like that would be appropriate, and it's an expensive movie," he said (via GamesRadar). "It's a massive world we're creating and it's not a world we can simply go to locations to shoot. [For] A Cure For Wellness, we were able to really utilize a variety of location to create the world. Bioshock wouldn't work like that; we'd be building an entire underworld universe.
"So I think the combination of the price tag and the rating, [film company Universal] just didn't feel comfortable ultimately," he explained, repeating what he said years ago.
Verbinski went on to say in the AMA that, at the time, there were other R-rated movies that did not perform well. This might have made Universal even more wary about greenlighting the BioShock film.
Though the BioShock movie is showing no signs of starting again, Verbinski said "things have changed" as it relates to successful R-rated movies, so "maybe there will be another chance." Another director might have to step in, as Verbinski said it would be emotionally difficult for him to return.
"It's very difficult when you're eight weeks away from shooting a movie you really can see in your head and you've almost filmed the entire thing," he said. "So emotionally you're right at that transition from architect to becoming a contractor and that will be a difficult place to get back to."
In 2011, Verbinski said the BioShock movie's budget would only be approved for a PG-13 take on the material, a compromise he felt was unacceptable. After Verbinski dropped out, a new director, Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later, Intact), was brought on, but he eventually exited the project too.
BioShock creator Ken Levine said in 2013 that BioShock rights-owner Take-Two gave him creative control over the movie. It was his decision alone to kill the second iteration of the film; he did so because he "didn't see a match" with the new director, presumably a reference to Fresnadillo.
The BioShock series was created by Irrational Games, a Boston-based studio that effectively closed in 2014. Development on the series is now headed up by 2K Marin in California. The latest installment in the series was BioShock: The Collection, a compilation pack that features updated versions of BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite.
No new entries in the series have been announced. Last year, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said BioShock has not reached its creative or commercial peak yet, so that sounds like more games will be released eventually.
As for Levine, he is working on a "highly creative and innovative" game for Take-Two that has yet to be announced.