Verbinski’s ‘Bioshock’ Hits Troubled Waters

Literally this very morning I busted out my copy of Bioshock and restarted my venture into the underwater city of Rapture, one of the most mystical, beautiful… and insanely terrifying cities on the planet. With the sequel on its way to game systems this year, and director Gore Verbinski passing on a fourth Pirates film to fast track the live-action feature film adaptation, I couldn’t wait a second longer to dive make into that universe. Too bad Verbinski and Universal can’t figure their sh*t out and Uni has pulled the drain on the project… for now. Read on for the skinny.Via Variety:

Bioshock RaptureUniversal Pictures has put the brakes on “Bioshock,” the Gore Verbinski-directed live action adaptation of the bestselling Take-Two Interactive vidgame. The picture was in pre-production, but the studio has halted that effort–and let some production staff go–as Universal and Verbinski figure out a way to make the film at a more reasonable budget.

Sources said that the John Logan-scripted picture was gearing up to shoot in Los Angeles, but that changed when the budget rose to the vicinity of $160 million. U and Verbinski are looking at alternatives like shooting in London as a way to pare costs. The plotline takes place in the underwater city Rapture, where a pilot crash-lands near a secret entrance and becomes involved in a power struggle.

“We were asked by Universal to move the film outside the U.S. to take advantage of a tax credit,” Verbinski said. “We are evaluating whether this is something we want to do. In the meantime, the film is in a holding pattern.”

Verbinski and sources at the studio say they are determined to make the pic. Indeed, Verbinski (who has also been directing the Paramount animated film “Rango” with Johnny Depp) bowed out of directing a fourth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean” so that he could direct “Bioshock” and produce under his Blind Wink banner.

Studio sources said that the budget simply became untenable, but U sources said this is no different than when the studio delayed the start of the untitled Robin Hood pic that Ridley Scott is now directing with Russell Crowe starring. U is making that picture for $130 million, a much lower budget that in its first incarnation. For a number of reasons that included the need for extra script work, that picture temporarily halted, a move which enabled Crowe to star in “State of Play” when Brad Pitt fell out.

All parties vow that “Bioshock” will not become another “Halo,” the live action adaptation of the Microsoft game that was going to be turned into a film by U and Fox until both studios got cold feet and cancelled the deal over budget fears.

Universal acquired “Bioshock” in a multi-million dollar deal against gross points with Take-Two (Daily Variety, May 8).

Bioshock Rapture