[UPDATE: APRIL FOOLS!]
Following the exit of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, the BioShock film adaptation appeared to have stalled – as concerns over the film’s budget, rating, and box office potential created a number of irreconcilable stumbling blocks for the director’s artistic vision.
Now, we’re getting official word that video game film adapter extraordinaire, Uwe Boll, known for lackluster and near universally-hated game adaptations such as Far Cry and BloodRayne, will be taking-over the BioShock film production – following a lengthy pitch session with Universal wherein the filmmaker promised to finally deliver the first “truly great” video game movie.
Interestingly (read: unfortunately) BioShock creator Ken Levine was not invited to the meeting between Boll and the producing partners – resulting in an up-ending of prior statements by the game designer that “there’s no burning [desire] to have a movie made just to get it made.” While Levine was obviously pushing for a BioShock adaptation that’s as artistic as his own approach to storytelling, Universal (on the other hand) is clearly interested in capitalizing on the upcoming BioShock: Infinite buzz – and was motivated to get a BioShock film (no matter the overall quality) out the door in a timely manner.
Boll, of course, promises that his film will please fans of the franchise – and even admits that some of his prior efforts didn’t strike a positive chord with fans of their respective games:
Looking back I realize that BloodRayne and Alone in the Dark weren’t what people might have been expecting. We tried to do something different. I saw that Super Mario Bros. movie and knew that’s not what I wanted to do. So we tried a different thing and at the time we were happy with those movies but now I think we can do better. Much better. BioShock has all of these great creatures, Big Daddies and Little Daughters. The Splicers are scary as shit! I’ve already promised Universal the first truly great video game movie and I intend to deliver.
All of the passion and promises in the world probably won’t help appease BioShock faithfuls who will, no doubt, be horrified of this recent development – especially after Boll referred to the “Little Sisters” as “Little Daughters.”
That all said, Boll has always been working under pretty strict budget constraints – since he was mostly responsible for funding his projects. However, with a major IP and Universal backing him, it’s certainly possible (albeit still somewhat unlikely) that the director will deliver a satisfying BioShock film experience. Budget concern is likely one of the biggest factors that pulled Universal to Boll, since video game film adaptations (no matter how popular their source material) still suffer from a lot of marketing challenges – i.e. BioShock, as previously indicated by former director Gore Verbinski, should be Rated R in order to do the source material justice; though, that choice would significantly limit the size of the film’s audience.
While many gamers will, no doubt, hate the idea of Boll behind the lens of a BioShock adaptation – it’s possible that, given the various marketing constraints, the infamous director is the kind of guy that can provide Universal with a low risk, meaning low cost, gamble on the property. Let’s face it, BioShock, no matter how strong the world and story, isn’t as well-known as Call of Duty – as a result, it’s unlikely that the studio would have ever greenlit the film with a costly helmer (demanding a big budget) sitting in the director’s chair.
At this point, the best thing we can do is hope that either a) Bioshock: Infinite is a massive commercial success – prompting Universal to abandon their modest BioShock film in favor or the kind of project Verbinski and Fresnadillo had planned or b) that Boll actually has learned from his past mistakes and manages to pull this whole thing off.
That said, the worst part of the story, regardless of how readers might feel about Boll, is that Universal went behind the back of Irrational Games head Kevin Levine – which is especially apparent if you read this full statement that Levine provided in response to the Uwe Boll announcement.
On a side note – this article should certainly teach you the value of clicking on in-text links.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of BioShock as more information is released.
Source: Uwe Boll