Back in 2008, it was announced that Gore Verbinski — known mostly for helming the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies — had been hired to direct the movie adaptation of the hit video game series Bioshock for Universal, with Aviator screenwriter John Logan set to write the film. A year later, Universal suddenly pulled the plug on the film just 8 weeks prior to shooting and Verbinski dropped out of the project altogether in the summer of 2009.
During a recent Reddit AMA to promote his new film A Cure for Wellness, Verbinski was asked why his Bioshock movie never came to fruition and the director explained what went wrong. Here was his response:
Well it’s no short answer to that question but we were eight weeks prior shooting when the plug was pulled. It’s an R rated movie. I wanted to keep it R rated, I felt like that would be appropriate, and it’s an expensive movie. It’s a massive world we’re creating and it’s not a world we can simply go to locations to shoot. “A Cure For Wellness”, we were able to really utilize a variety of location to create the world. “Bioshock” it wouldn’t work like that, we’d be building an entire underworld universe. So I think the combination of the price tag and the rating, universal just didn’t feel comfortable ultimately. At that time also there were some R rated, expensive R rated movies that were not working.
As Verbinski explains, the film didn’t happen because of its R-rating and its budget. However, while Deadpool might not have had the biggest budget, but it at least proved that an R-rated film could be successful. Taking that into consideration, the director went on to explain how he feels about the film’s chances of getting made now:
So I think things have changed and maybe there will be another chance, but it’s very difficult when you’re eight weeks away from shooting a movie you really can see in your head and you’ve almost filmed the entire thing, so emotionally you’re right at that transition from architect to becoming a contractor and that will be a difficult place to get back to.
I’m a big fan of the Bioshock games. There’s a lot of excellent world-building in those games and it would perfectly lend itself to a feature film, so it’s unfortunate that this never came to fruition. Sure, there has yet to be a video game movie to be deemed a success both critically and financially, but who know, maybe Bioshock could have been the first.