Gore Verbinski Talks BioShock Film Failure

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Gore Verbinski Talks BioShock Film Failure

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Gore Verbinski, the man originally tapped to direct the BioShock feature film, says the project fell apart because he couldn't get backing for it as an R-rated movie.

It was almost three years ago that Take-Two Interactive announced the planned BioShock film with none other than Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski at the helm. Verbinski signaled some serious commitment to the project in April 2009 when he passed on the fourth Pirates flick so he could do BioShock instead. But then it all fell apart; a skyrocketing budget put everything on hold and in August 2009, Verbinski dropped out after Paramount decided to film on cheaper locations overseas.

"I couldn't really get past anybody that would spend the money that it would take to do it and keep an R rating. Alternately, I wasn't really interested in pursuing a PG-13 version," he explained in an interview with ComingSoon.net "Because the R rating is inherent. Little Sisters and injections and the whole thing."

"I just wanted to really, really make it a movie where, four days later, you're still shivering and going, 'Jesus Christ!'," he continued. "It's a movie that has to be really, really scary, but you also have to create a whole underwater world, so the price tag is high. We just didn't have any takers on an R-rated movie with that price tag."

He also thinks BioShock would be a perfect fit for the latest trend to grip the film industry: the third dimension. "[Bioshock] would be a great movie to do in 3D," he added. "I'd like to go into that world wearing a pair of glasses. I think in general, gaming is perfect for 3D. Anything where you're the protagonist. The kid in The Shining on the big wheel, going around corridors. That's what 3D is perfect for. To make people feel on-edge."

I'm not a huge fan of Verbinski's work but his vision for BioShock certainly sounds preferable to the likely alternative: a CGI-heavy mid-budget flick with a heroic lead and a happy ending. That's if it gets made at all; the last we heard, the project was still trapped in budgetary limbo.

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The people who control the money always stifle the creativity of all mediums.

either make it right or don't make it at all Take-Two.

Good.

The less films of games, the better (and vice versa).

I would love to see a Bioshock movie if they made it right, so let's hope that if they ain't going to make a good version and come up with more money their not going to make it at all.

The problem with trying to make a Bioshock movie using the games as a basis is that the only character you could use is the city itself, with a couple of generic Big Daddies and Little Sisters. You can't use anyone specifically already used, or else it would ruin the concept.

Honestly, a Bioshock movie was never a good idea. The things that made the game so great simply would not translate well into a drastically shorter, non-interactive entertainment format.

No matter how accurately you portray Rapture in a movie, you will never (especially not in 90 minutes) capture the haunting feeling of exploring the sunken would-be utopia, piecing together the stories of the people who lived there for yourself.

But even more importantly, the game's message simply wouldn't translate. When you take away the fact that the player seemingly willingly complies with Atlas throughout the game of their own free will, and present it as someone else following the instructions, the whole "would you kindly" revelation loses all of its impact. It's no longer a daunting message about the nature of free will and compliance with perceived authority, it's just a somewhat unexpected twist.

Furthermore, if the movie was simply going to be a retelling of the game, it just wouldn't have been worth watching for those who already played it. They already know what's going to happen, and the game - as brilliant and important as it is - doesn't have the kind of recognition that could bring in a lot of viewers new to the franchise.

And if they came up with a new plot entirely, separate from the games - would it actually be any good? Would it even be Bioshock in anything but name and setting? Both games were based around questioning the nature of free will and asking the player why they were doing these things. The first game asked uncomfortable questions about perceived authority, the second about the nature of love. Could a movie really have the same effect on someone sitting and passively watching, rather than actively participating?

I doubt it.

He had the wrong idea anyway. Bioshock wasn't scary, it was atmospheric.

As an aside, it didn't need an 18 cert, it just would have helped.

Ironic. I read the article about the Uncharted/Sopranos film which is getting the green light and thought "What a pile of shit"

I read this guys vision of a bioshock film and think its awesome.

Ca Cera cera

Booze Zombie:
The people who control the money always stifle the creativity of all mediums.

How much do you think the movie would cost to make if done properly?

Now honestly, how much do you think the movie would make in ticket sales? Do you really think the movie could gross enough to make the required investment worth it?

KaosuHamoni:
As an aside, it didn't need an 18 cert, it just would have helped.

Actually it would - everything about the Little Sisters alone, their lore, appearance, actions and indeed their use as Adam banks - would compel an immediate R/18+ rating.

And that's without getting to the widespread injection of a drug-like substance, the violence and extremely adult themes. Try recreating the just events of the Medical Pavilion without incurring an R/18+. As with the Little Sisters, you'd have to dilute it horribly.

It just isn't worth the trouble. Bioshock was never meant to be a movie.

This disappoints me... It sounds like Verbinski really wants to get it right... And I do love the Pirates movies, though obviously Bioshock would have to be a very different movie.
I feel like the best way for Bioshock to work as a movie, would be to keep the setting and themes and everything, but write a new (still awesome) story. But then, I still haven't finished Bioshock, so I really can't speak for how well it would work as a movie...

phoenix352:
either make it right or don't make it at all Take-Two.

I couldn't agree more. I think this is the biggest danger now, they'll go ahead and let the investors decide everything until it turns out to be a family friendly summer blockbuster. And I might just cry at all the wasted potential...

Arkley:
-snip-

Well, it didn't. If you look at films these days, a lot of things which would have been 18's 2 or 3 years ago are 15's now. It being an 18 would have just allowed a little more "Aboogy woogy woo!" style horror, and gore, which Bioshock isn't really about.

that kinda disapoints me, i was looking forward to one.

That's too bad, it sounds like it was going to be epic. Gotta love (hate) those conservative investors. That's a similar reason why we don't get too many big budget games that break the trends. Wait, did I say too many? I mean none at all. Seems like only low budget indie titles are willing to take risks - tho I guess they have to.

A PG-13 Bioshock? Yea, no thanks. Too bad, it sounds as though it could have been good.

I was looking forward to this >.>

Hopefully it can move on!

KaosuHamoni:

Arkley:
-snip-

Well, it didn't. If you look at films these days, a lot of things which would have been 18's 2 or 3 years ago are 15's now. It being an 18 would have just allowed a little more "Aboogy woogy woo!" style horror, and gore, which Bioshock isn't really about.

You don't seem to understand. I'm not saying "the film rating commissions are a bunch of losers who put high ratings on things so Bioshock would get a high rating".

I'm saying it is literally impossible due to rules that leave very little room for interpretation.

Use of an addictive substance - particularly one administered intravenously - demands an R/18+ rating virtually all of the time, particularly in cases where it is depicted repeatedly. This applies even if the substance isn't called a "drug" within the picture.

And that's just Adam. I mentioned the Little Sisters earlier, allow me to elaborate on that.

The Little Sisters are very young girls who have undergone abusive psychological conditioning and genetic manipulation to allow and compel them to draw blood from corpses and drink it, so their bodies can process the addictive substance within. They then store this substance within them until someone extracts it. This makes them constant targets for the deranged occupants of the city, who constantly attempt to kill them and harvest their bodies for an addictive material that they then inject themselves with.

Those are only two aspects of the really, really fucked up world of Rapture. Neither of those could make it into a movie without an R/18+ rating. It just isn't possible. It would have to be drastically altered and diluted to get anything less.

I agree, Bioshock's content makes it an R rating by default, and if you're going to make it then you may as well make it properly. It's no shock that we get no good films anymore.

Arkley:

KaosuHamoni:
[quote="Arkley" post="7.264923.10060155"] -snip-

-snip-

I understand perfectly well. I have played them, after all.

It really doesn't. If you look at Bioshock 2, that's nowhere as near as fucked up as 1, and they're never going to remake the story from the games are they. They're going to make something similar, related to the games, in the same universe and all, but different.

I'm glad Verbinski stuck to his principles instead of caving into pressure from executives. Sounds like he had good ideas and genuinely liked the game.

Well, now he can move on to his own original stories.

KaosuHamoni:

Arkley:

KaosuHamoni:
[quote="Arkley" post="7.264923.10060155"] -snip-

-snip-

I understand perfectly well. I have played them, after all.

It really doesn't. If you look at Bioshock 2, that's nowhere as near as fucked up as 1, and they're never going to remake the story from the games are they. They're going to make something similar, related to the games, in the same universe and all, but different.

Neither of the examples I gave are specific to either Bioshock game - they're constants of the Bioshock universe. It doesn't matter if you're making an entirely new plot. The nature of Adam and the Little Sisters alone would compel an R/18+ rating. If you drastically alter the lore behind the Sisters and Adam (among other things), you're diluting some of the key elements of Rapture.

There's a reason this guy didn't want to make the picture if he couldn't get approval for an R-rating. It's because dancing under the line of R/18+ would mean removal or dilution of many of the things that make Rapture and the Bioshock universe so original and unique. If you can't show audiences what makes Bioshock so incredible in the first place, what's the point in making a movie?

To be honest, I'm kind of glad it got put on hold. If you're going to make a movie about Bioshock, it needs to get the R-rating and portray all of the gore, horror, and sadness inherent to the game.

Damn. Sounds like I would have loved that.

phoenix352:
either make it right or don't make it at all Take-Two.

You can't hit Take Two for this, the funding didn't come because it was R rated. But I wouldn't have had it any other way, Bioshock was a serious game (at least I took it that way) and I don't think I could respect Gore for doing this on a low budget. He bowed out and I'm glad he did.

Arkley:

KaosuHamoni:

Arkley:
-snip-

I understand perfectly well. I have played them, after all.

It really doesn't. If you look at Bioshock 2, that's nowhere as near as fucked up as 1, and they're never going to remake the story from the games are they. They're going to make something similar, related to the games, in the same universe and all, but different.

Neither of the examples I gave are specific to either Bioshock game - they're constants of the Bioshock universe. It doesn't matter if you're making an entirely new plot. The nature of Adam and the Little Sisters alone would compel an R/18+ rating. If you drastically alter the lore behind the Sisters and Adam (among other things), you're diluting some of the key elements of Rapture.

There's a reason this guy didn't want to make the picture if he couldn't get approval for an R-rating. It's because dancing under the line of R/18+ would mean removal or dilution of many of the things that make Rapture and the Bioshock universe so original and unique. If you can't show audiences what makes Bioshock so incredible in the first place, what's the point in making a movie?

Look, movies tend to gloss over the whole "Lore" bit, unless they are a series, like Star Wars. There's a reason that Bioshock has way more lore than, say, Gran Torino.
We're going to play a game for about 8-9 hours, and through-out that play-through, learn all of it's intricacies and quirks, while a film is 1 1/2 to 2 hour long. Not nearly enough time to do that. And anyway, i get the feeling that the little sisters were going to just be the "creepy little girls" bit, as opposed to the "poor tortured souls" bit. Maybe it's for the best that this movie isn't getting made. Even if it were going to be an 18.

This is what we need in the movie world. Directors with visions who have integrity, who aren't afraid to ditch projects when they find out the production company just wants a quick buck.

Frankly, this is one of the big draws of the video game medium for me: The ability to tell an adult story and still have the awe inspiring visuals, and intense action of a summer blockbuster. If there is no money to be made in big budget R rated movie productions, so be it. Along with everybody else here who played (and enjoyed) Bioshock, I got the experience I wanted out of it without a movie tie-in.

KaosuHamoni:

Look, movies tend to gloss over the whole "Lore" bit, unless they are a series, like Star Wars. There's a reason that Bioshock has way more lore than, say, Gran Torino.
We're going to play a game for about 8-9 hours, and through-out that play-through, learn all of it's intricacies and quirks, while a film is 1 1/2 to 2 hour long. Not nearly enough time to do that. And anyway, i get the feeling that the little sisters were going to just be the "creepy little girls" bit, as opposed to the "poor tortured souls" bit. Maybe it's for the best that this movie isn't getting made. Even if it were going to be an 18.

The lore behind the Little Sisters and Adam is integral to the universe. It also isn't so complicated that it couldn't be explained by any half-decent writer within a movie of 90~120 mins. Hell, that wouldn't be a problem at all, I can think of two ways to go about it right now. But including it compels an R/18+.

Leaving it out robs the movie of what makes Bioshock Bioshock, thereby making a movie about Bioshock pointless in the first place.

There is literally no way that a movie could retain anything even close to resembling the horrors of Rapture without incurring an R/18+. This is simply not arguable - it is fact. I've explained why, and I can tell by your writing alone that you're not an idiot, I know you understand this. I think you're just too stubborn to back down and/or admit that you hadn't considered the above points when you made your first post.

In any case, this discussion ought to end before it becomes an argument. I don't want any moderator intervention and I'm sure you don't either.

Arkley:
In any case, this discussion ought to end before it becomes an argument. I don't want any moderator intervention and I'm sure you don't either.

That's a good idea. And btw, you put up a pretty good argument. =]

I don't really see the point in making a Bioshock film since the game is already there and can't really be improved on by adapting it. But I can certainly see how it has the potential to be a great film. It will never be made though, hollywood execs are too fussy about their ratings and money to take a gamble on doing it.

Good on Verbinski. I'd rather have nothing then a crappy PG-13 cash in that doesn't respect the source material. In a few years there'll be someone holding the money who played the game and understands what it needs to be. Then Bioshock will get the film it deserves.

Trogdor1138:
I don't really see the point in making a Bioshock film since the game is already there and can't really be improved on by adapting it. But I can certainly see how it has the potential to be a great film. It will never be made though, hollywood execs are too fussy about their ratings and money to take a gamble on doing it.

Well yes they are, would you invest 10 million in somthing only to have it flop at the box office and you only get 5 million back on it?

Trogdor1138:
I don't really see the point in making a Bioshock film since the game is already there and can't really be improved on by adapting it. But I can certainly see how it has the potential to be a great film. It will never be made though, hollywood execs are too fussy about their ratings and money to take a gamble on doing it.

Well yes they are, would you invest 10 million in somthing only to have it flop at the box office and you only get 5 million back on it?

I like it when big directors make stands like this! Good for him!

And FUCK the PG-13 rating!! It is killing the industry's artistic credibility!!!

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