Verbinski BioShocks Hollywood

<em>Pirates of the Caribbean</em> director helming adaptation of 2K's groundbreaking undersea actioner; Universal courting <em>Gladiator</em> screenwriter to pen script.

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Gore Verbinski is returning to Davy Jones' locker. Having completed work on the Pirates of the Caribbean film trilogy, Verbinski has signed on for another oceanic epic with the big-screen adaptation of 2K Games' award-winning action game BioShock.

The publisher today announced the project in conjunction with Universal Pictures. The studio is in talks with Academy Award-nominated writer John Logan (Aviator, The Time Machine) to provide the screenplay.

In an interview with Hollywood trade magazine Variety, Verbinski said the film won't be on the same scale as his summer blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean films.

"It's a much more intimate story than Pirates," Verbinski explained. "Although it's an adventure, its a dramatic adventure. I see it more along the lines of Blade Runner."

Although the Disney ride-based films are his best-known work, Verbinski has worked on smaller-scale pictures as well. He directed the US remake of The Ring, as well as the 1997 family picture Mousehunt. Three months ago, he gave the keynote address at the DICE Summit, telling hundreds of the game-industry elite about his growing interest in games.

Verbinski also told the trade that he was prepared to make a BioShock movie rated R. Beyond the dark tone and violence of the game, Verbinski also said the "graphic nature of the story is smarter than that."

"The utopian references and the way the characters and world are drawn in that delightfully inspired Jules Verne and Ayn Rand style places the film in a more elevated realm," Verbinski said. "It's the realm of a graphic novel. It has to have that edge."

Variety also reported that Take-Two Interactive chairman Strauss Zelnick dismissed fears that the project would end up in turnaround like Universal's last big game adaptation--Halo--saying that the BioShock deal was structured specifically to avoid such a fate.

No projected release window for the film was announced, nor was the casting of any major characters--including the silent, faceless protagonist--revealed.

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