Gore Verbinski, the uber-talented director who headed Disney’s mega-money franchise The Pirates of the Carribean, is ready to say goodbye to Pirates and jump ship. His destination? He’s headed deep underwater this time, to helm Bioshock, a film based on the popular video game of the same name. According to Variety, he’s informed producers that he will not direct the next installment of the pirate franchise. As far as the next Pirates movie goes, this news leaves the studio trying to find a new director with precious little time before they need to start shooting to meet the announced 2010 release date. Johnny Depp will reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow, so does it even really matter? We all know that Depp is the draw here, and the movie will undoubtedly make more than it’s fair share of pirates booty before all is said and done. That doesn’t mean the movie will be any good, but why would Disney care about that if the film makes a boatload of cash??? Sorry, I just can’t help myself! Anyway, Verbinski’s next project may be based on a video game, but I can tell you from personal experience (along with the opinions of numerous industry insiders) that the story behind the game is one seemingly crafted for cinema. I’ve taken the liberty to include some creepy, and eerily beautiful pics from the game that should help you develop some realistic expectations for the film. And, for all you non-gamers, I’ve included a complete rundown of what you should know about Bioshock:
BioShockis set during 1960, in Rapture, a fictional underwater dystopian/anti-utopian city. The history of Rapture is learned by the player through audio recordings as he explores the city. Rapture was envisioned by the business magnate Andrew Ryan, who wanted to create a laissez-faire state to escape increasingly oppressive political, economic, and religious authority on land. The city was secretly built in 1946 on a mid-Atlantic seabed, utilizing submarine volcanoes to provide geothermal power. Scientific progress flourished in Rapture leading to rapid developments in engineering and biotechnology thanks in part to the brilliant scientists that Ryan brought to the city. One such advancement was ADAM, stem cells harvested from a previously unknown species of sea slug, which were discovered by Dr. Bridgette Tennenbaum to have the ability to regenerate damaged tissue and rewrite the human genome. In cooperation with businessman and mobster Frank Fontaine, they created the plasmid industry, in which customers could enhance their bodies with superhuman qualities. Tennenbaum found that ADAM could be mass-produced by implanting the slugs in the stomachs of young girls, whom they took from orphanages.
As time passed, the gap between rich and poor increased. Frank Fontaine established charity organizations to support the underclass (something antithetical to Ryan’s philosophy). He also established a smuggling operation to supply citizens with forbidden items from the surface, such as religious material. These, along with his control of the plasmid industry, made him immensely powerful. He tried to overthrow Ryan, but the revolt was violently crushed and Fontaine reportedly killed. Ryan seized control of Fontaine’s plasmid business. Within a few months, a new figure named Atlas rose as the leader of the disgruntled lower class. On the Eve of 1959, Atlas and his ADAM-infused followers began a new revolt against Ryan that spread throughout Rapture. Ryan in turn began splicing his own forces. In order to solve ADAM shortages, the Little Sisters were mentally conditioned to wander the city and extract ADAM from the dead, and recycling it into raw ADAM in their bellies after swallowing it. “Big Daddies”, armed and highly enhanced humans in diving suits were created to protect them in their work.A drawback of ADAM is that a user must take regular infusions or suffer mental and physical degeneration. As the war disrupted production and supply, every ADAM user in the city eventually went violently insane. By the time the player arrives, only a handful of non-mutated humans survive in barricaded hideouts.
At the start of the game, Jack (the player protagonist) is a passenger on a plane that goes down in the Atlantic Ocean in 1960, after ordered society in Rapture has collapsed. After surfacing, Jack finds himself the only survivor of the crash, and swims to a nearby towering lighthouse sitting in the middle of the water, where he finds a bathysphere which he uses to descend into the ocean and enter the city of Rapture. Jack must explore the underwater city of Rapture, and survive attacks by the mutated beings and mechanical drones that populate it. As you progress through the game, you begin to piece together what really happened in Rapture and why, in turn revealing a shocking secret about Jack himself. The game mixed elements of survival horror and action adventure, and the gamer plays the game in “first person shooter” style with “role playing game (RPG)” elements. The game boasted excellent voice work, stunning graphics and a very strong story.
As I played the game for the first time, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the story. I honestly thought to myself that it was only a matter of time before some studio swoops in and buys the rights, and starts production on a feature film. Sure enough, Universal Pictures swooped in and started the beautiful movie making process. As of right now, John Logan and Ken Levine have been hard at work on the script, and with Gore Verbinski now attached to direct, I can only imagine that this project will be picking up steam over the next few months. I have absolutely no idea as to who I would want to cast in this movie, but as long as the actors are talented, I really wouldn’t care. I think the story could make for a fantastic spectacle, but the film will bomb hard if the right talent isn’t cast. Of course, with Verbinski now involved, I have faith that the right choices will be made throughout the entire process. At one point in time, it was rumored that the film would be shot in a similar fashion 300, with extensive use of the green screen, but that was only a rumor and with Verbinski now directing I would say there is little chance the film will be done in this way.
I am very excited about this project. I can honestly say that right now, I am expecting greatness. There simply is no reason, no possible excuse, for failure. I’m not saying this movie will make guaranteed bank,especially since effects driven ambitious projects like this tend to be hit or miss. But I do expect this to be very visual, and extremely entertaining. You can bet that I’ll be monitoring this project closely, and I’ll bring you updates as they come to me.