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?
Reader Feedback - 32 Comments
I can dig it
Gill on Aug 23, 2009
well i know 1 thing he will bring horror and terror instead of big action which is a good thing
nelson on Aug 23, 2009
Yeah weren't you worried about Neill Blomkamp too Alex? :-\ Looking forward to this movie.
Will Dearborn on Aug 23, 2009
gore verbinski was the perfect director for this , the Bioshock universe and backstory at least in the game was great.....too bad the studios didn't look at the big budget as an opportunity to launch another pirates type trilogy
monal on Aug 23, 2009
Fresnadillo did an awesome work with 28 weeks... If we dont get the Bioshock movie we want its because of the budget, not the director.
Dreckent on Aug 23, 2009
Alex this is a blessing some directors need to do more with less POC3 was a bore at 200 million and district 9 was brilliant at 30 million the only reason I was excited about gore was so video game would get maybe a more establish group of filmmakers the guy from 28 weeks later will do fine
chanklas on Aug 23, 2009
Not a mistake, just a change of pace, Gore is still there azs producer and will probably have a lot of imput on hte project, and John Logan is a terriffic screenwriter, and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has talent as a director, but it won't be long before 28WL haters start showing up and thrash this decision, but I'm keeping my hopes up and hopefully Fresnadillo will bring us the BioShock movie we all want and deserve. Too many videogame/films have let us down! Lets hope this one delivers!
Xerxex on Aug 23, 2009
Billington says: "There is only one reason for this - money!" Duh! Why do you think they call the movie business - a business? All movies are designed to make money. I would have preferred Verbinski - but I did enjoy 28 Weeks Later. I just think Gore would have been a much better fit for the film. Both in tone and scope.
TTEX on Aug 23, 2009
Ok so BioShock is my all-time favourite game, love it to absolute bits. I think Fresnadillo is a much better choice of director than Verbinski. As #2 said, he will bring a different sort of horror and terror to the mix than Verbinski would. He will it a very dark movie. Also on the budget, they could do this District 9 style. They don't need a big name cast to carry this thing. Sure they need a good lead and I have thought Ben Foster would be perfect for it, but apart from that they don't really need stars. The effects in D9 were awesome and that only cost $30 million. They could easily do this for $100 million and have it be a great movie. After r-rated flops like Watchmen and Funny People, I am not surprised Universal want to cut back funds. All the r-rated successes of late have not had massive budgets (D9, Hangover, Taken).
Ben on Aug 23, 2009
is wentworth miller still rumored to play the role of Jack?
J.J. on Aug 23, 2009
This movie has great potential. Hopefully, the studio won't try to turn it into a formulaic summer blockbuster.
Quanah on Aug 23, 2009
At least it's being made. One of the few games which could actually work as a film.
Mark on Aug 23, 2009
i too liked 28 weeks later, but i can't help thinking that the pirates of the caribbean style would be better for this (thats if one assumes that the directors would go with their previous style). Now not saying Neil Blompkamp should be a choice, i want to note that what he did with a 30 million budget was amazing. Bioshock the game is not one with an epic visual scope... you are stuck in an underwater city; its claustrophobic, leaky, and enemies jump at you from around the corner. I don't really see how one would need 160mil to recreate that feeling The fact is the choice won't be up to the fans, but up to the studio big wigs. one can only hope that the usual cluster fuck of people only thinkin about profit will result in a movie that respects the roots of the material and is one people can enjoy... cause this is one IP that has potential as a movie
Janny on Aug 23, 2009
Personally, I think this can only be a good thing. Whilst I was not a huge fan of the game like some, the design and atmosphere of it was sublime and extremely eery at times. Gore, whilst I feel he could probably capture the look, would never capture that same tension of the game focussing to much on the lavish action. And without the tension, well it's just not BioShock
FiendishMonkey on Aug 24, 2009
Universal are dumb. LOOK AT THE GAME! OF course you need a big budget to fully pull off. It's such a big story. If you're not willing to pump the dollars into it, then hand it over to another studio. Or just don't make it. Max Payne had all the film ingredients and look how that turned out on the big screen! A BIG TURD!!!
Would You Kindly? on Aug 24, 2009
Since Verbinski won't be directing it, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is a great choice in my opinion. I really liked what he did with 28 Weeks Later and think he has what it takes to pull this off. Besides, Gore is still attached as a producer so hopefully he'll help guide things in the right direction.
Andreas Climent on Aug 24, 2009
Who cares? As awesome as Bioshock is, this is still going to be a video game movie. In other words, they'll totally fuck with the story and it's going to suck balls.
Syphous on Aug 24, 2009
I'm sure Fresnadillo will surprise us - as he's got something to prove now. It's only logical that these studios are now looking at Robert Rodriguez/ Albert Pyun budget specialists to save them some big bucks. This is good because it'll stimulate creativity---like-- you guessed it, "District 9". Always remember Alex, things happen for a reason.
Spider on Aug 24, 2009
This is a rare case where a cost cutting measure is a good thing [more money for effects]. I think we will all be happily surprised at what a great film this will be. Gore is an over the top Disney director. We need a dark, emotional film [see 28 Weeks Later] - JCF is the man for the job.
Jamdolin on Aug 24, 2009
i like both directors, but fresnadillo can bring more of a horror aspect to it which the movie needs at times, i just hope its rated R and they go all out with bashing people over the head with a wrench or through the stomach with a giant drill
harrison on Aug 24, 2009
When are people going to realize that you don't necessarily need hundreds of millions of dollars to make a potential blockbuster. Focus on the STORY and the CHARACTERS and people will come. Effects are great, but often overdone. They can be done very very well when used in moderation. Look at District 9.
The Hornet King on Aug 24, 2009
28 weeks was not that good. not near what 28 days was. I don't really care about this movie so it doesn't matter.
Branden on Aug 24, 2009
#23 If you don't care, why comment?
Xerxex on Aug 24, 2009
I despise 28 Weeks Later (yes, it probably was even dumber than D9) but I am really keen to see a Bioshock movie. As long as the 'story' isn't treated as an afterthought then the choice of director probably doesn't even matter that much. Christophe Gans would be my first choice, though.
RandyG on Aug 24, 2009
if u ever played bioshock, u would know its full of outrageous gore, and enemies that are just mutilated beyond repair. i personally would rather see fresnadillo direct this movie.
mike on Aug 24, 2009
As long as he can pull off the look and feel of the game on a low budget I'm fine with him directing. I really feel that this movie needs a big budget to make it up to the standards of the game.
Dan W on Aug 27, 2009
people on her saying stuff like you don't need a big budget focus on characters? the look of the film is a character in itself it needs to be epic
nelson on Aug 28, 2009
It's going to be Rated R all the way 100% I can promise you that guys!
Big789 on Oct 4, 2009
First off guys... HUGE Bioshock fan here... can't wait for the second one to come out (2/9/10). Anyway, I have another director to throw in as a consideration... and honestly I think he would have been the best possible choice for a Bioshock movie... Gil Kenan. Gil Kenan may have only directed 2 movies so far, but both films were huge success! Look at the film City of Ember... this film was almost identical to Bioshock... not necessarily by story but the look and feel of this city underground made you feel like you were in Rapture! So proof that a man that is most known for his oversea adventure flicks (Verbinski) wouldn't necessarily mean he knows best for an underwater horror/adventure story. I know I know that Fresnadillo was the chosen candidate and that my blabbering on who I think should have been chosen to direct the film is a possible complete waste of time, but at least it's a good eye opener. I do believe in Fresnadillo though... he directed my all time favorite zombie film! How could I NOT support him?! But also... not looking at him for what he did with 28 Weeks Later... it was his perfection and style of direction that proves his potential and success for this film... not just that he directed a perfect zombie horror flick.However, what he can bring to Bioshock, BECAUSE of his horror experience, is dark color and atmosphere, dark and disturbing characters, unique camera techniques, fast paced chaos, a true grasp of disaster... hrmmm all of that rings a bell... 28 Weeks Later had all of that... put that all into Bioshock and that's the whole true feeling of Bioshock... am I right? Though I think Gil Kenan would have nailed it... Fresnadillo is a good choice too. Can't WAIT for the movie regardless!
VociferateKredence on Jan 10, 2010
when i heard about this project i jumpped up and down with excitment. i love the game and think is is the best game of all time but im starting to think that this film will never happen just like halo. i think gore was a good choice for director as he always has loyalty for his films but when i heard that fresnadillo was now on the project i could not help but think that he may do a better job he is all about suspence and shock 28 weeks later was a brill film and his horror background will make bioshock a great film. cant wait for the film
stefstarr... on Feb 25, 2010
This really sucks. I swear to god, they better not blow this. I am in love with bioshock in every way. And if they mess it up, i'm going to be SUPER mad.
VideooooGamersss. on Mar 19, 2010
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