Juan Carlos Fresnadillo Directing Universal's Bioshock Movie
by Alex Billington
August 23, 2009
This might be mistake. Universal has announced (via Variety) that they've hired 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo to replace Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski on the Bioshock movie. There is one and only one reason for this - money. Back in April we heard about Universal stopping Verbinski's version of Bioshock because it was going to cost too much. But instead of shelving the project entirely, they instead decided to bring on a director who could shoot it on a much smaller budget, turning what was probably a $150-200 million movie into one that will probably cost less than $100 million.
Verbinski will still be involved as a producer and (apparently) they're still using the script that John Logan (Gladiator, The Last Samurai, The Aviator, Sweeney Todd) wrote for them based on the bestselling video game. According to Variety, Universal stopped Bioshock in April "because the budget rose to $160 million and the studio needed it to cost less." They claimed they just wanted Verbinski to shoot overseas (where it would cost less), but he wasn't able to. The studio went after Fresnadillo instead. Take-Two Interactive, who developed the game and has final approval on the director, approved Fresnadillo and now here we are.
I'm actually a fan of 28 Weeks Later, I liked the movie a lot, and I think Fresnadillo is a talented director. I'm sure Universal saw that and thought that he could work with a minimal budget and make it look more expensive. But anyone who has played the game knows that it would take a lot of money to pull off a great movie. And that's why I was excited to see Verbinski direct this, because after all he did with Pirates of the Caribbean, not only did I know it would have that gritty style again, but it would truly look and feel as big as it needs to be. It seems to me that this is just a cost-cutting measure that will hurt the quality in the end.
Maybe it's just me, but I'm now worried about this with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo directing. I really hope it still turns out awesome, I do, and I'll be pulling for it as long as I can, but I'm worried. What about you?