Screw the preamble: Gore Verbinski will be making Bioshock for Universal. The 2007 Game of the Year laureate, which tells the story of an underwater city called Rapture built to be an Ayn Rand-inspired elite paradise but which collapsed due to greed and science run amok, has seemed like one of the most likely game to film properties since it launched late last summer. John Logan will write the screenplay.
The news was announced this evening through a pair of Variety articles [1, 2], which paint Verbinski as actively involved in the game’s background; it’s not something he has simply glommed onto. Evidently he’s been in contact with game creator Ken Levine for months, and is ready to create a film that is as close to the game in tone and scope as possible. Some choice quotes to illustrate that point:
- It’s a much more intimate story than “Pirates.” Although its an adventure, it’s a dramatic adventure. I see it more along the lines of “Blade Runner.”
- I think we’ll go right up to the edge with the Little Sisters. [The young female characters which gather genetic material in post-crash Rapture.] I don’t want to soften it to the point where the core audience feels betrayed. At the same time, the gameplay is completely different than it will be for an audience watching.
- We’re prepared to make it an R-rated movie. I don’t intuitively see it as PG-13. The content and the graphic nature of the story itself is smarter than that. It’s not for young kids.
- I’ll be starting to work on it immediately as soon as we get a script that’s worthy. We’ll then move actively into pre-production. I wouldn’t put a time schedule on it so much as to say I’m jumping in with a full commitment.
Read the two Variety stories for many more details.
Among all those facts, one story point that sticks out is this: “Bioshock” publisher Take-Two Interactive is getting a multimillion-dollar advance against gross points on the pic. It’s believed to be the biggest videogame-to-movie deal since 2005, when U and Fox signed onto the since aborted “Halo” pic, for which Microsoft got $5 million against 10%.
Take-Two has been struggling against a takeover bid by massive game publisher Electronic Arts. The company also publishes Grand Theft Auto, and had pushed discussions of a bid until after GTA IV launched last week. The game’s massive sales have done good things for Take-Two’s stock, and now this is another asset to bolster the company. This deal is hardly new, but Take-Two seems to be fighting EA’s encroachment with big guns.