Universal has halted production on Bioshock, the adaptation of the critically-lauded video game, amid concerns over the budget being touted for the production by director Gore Verbinski.
According to Variety, the cost of the film rocketed up to $160 million, causing both Universal and Verbinski to seek cheaper ways of making the film, including a possible relocation of the shooting location from Los Angeles to London.
Verbinski said he had been “asked by Universal to move the film outside the US to take advantage of a tax credit”. He goes on to add that the team is “evaluating whether this is something we want to do”.
It’s an interesting development given the juice Verbinski has built for himself on the back of the ludicrously successful Pirates of the Caribbean films. Surely, although based on a videogame, this will be able to take $200 million if he can do it right.
Maybe that’s the question. Verbinski has never been given credit for the success of the Pirates films. They are relatively well directed but there never seems to be any auteurist touches to differentiate Verbinski from any other competent action director. Not only that, but he really failed to draw suitably decent performances from either Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
Perhaps thought, and the most likely answer, is that the movie industry is seeking way to cut costs amid a recession worldwide. Like any other bottom-line business, they have to find ways to save money and take off some pressure from the film having to rack up huge box-office numbers, something which seems increasingly difficult for those films not based on a comic book character.
Variety has suggested the project chimed with the current ethos at Universal in that it involves a number of classic horror figures, some of which, notably Wolf Man, will be making a return in the very near future.
I can’t see Howard taking it on and providing much interesting, although that chimes pretty heavily with my feelings on him as a helmer. He just doesn’t have the visual imagination and then necessary skill in conviction to pull it off. You never know though. Hope spring eternal. Yep.
Entertainment Weekly has posted a list of the top twenty-five greatest active directors. The list is as debatable as the day is long so argue away at some of the inclusions (Jon Favreau?).
Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln biopic, a long-time passion project, is struggling to find financing amid the current recession environment. Even the biggest names are starting to be hit by the problems facing the wider industry. When even the marquee names are finding it difficult, it is worrying. But perhaps this will foster a necessity to make movies cheaper and maybe we will see some really vital, interesting filmmaking be born from the downturn.
High School Musical alum Vanessa Hudgens has been strongly linked to the part of Nara Kilday in an adaptation of Josh Howard’s Dead@17 comic series, being written by Mike Dougherty. The story follows Nara, a girl who is killed and reborn to fight demons. Howard made the announcement during an interview on the Comics on Comics podcast (highly recommended). Could prove an interesting career move for Hudgens as she seems to be looking to eschew Zac Efron’s move into teen movies by taking what Cinematical calls the ‘Megan Fox route’.
Robert Rodriguez has signed up to write and direct Nerverackers, a futuristic thriller following an elite unit in 2085 dispatched to deal with a crime wave in a purportedly perfect society. Demolition Man, anyone?
Ridley Scott has swerved directions a bit on his Robin Hood revisionist take, essentially deleting the ‘revisionist’ portion of the description to adopt a more traditional style of telling the story. Instead, according to an interview given to MTV, Scott will have the story follow the ‘evolution of a character called Robin Hood, who will come out of a point in the Crusades which is the end‘. It does mean that the previously mentioned choice of having Russell Crowe play both Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham has been either abandoned or was never really a set option. Scott said to MTV: ‘[Crowe as both Robin and the Sheriff of Nottingham] was an idea so far back, way back when at the time I had this proposed to me, and I read it and thought, ‘I don’t really know what it does for it, but it’s alright’.’ Make of that what you will, but it seems that this will end up just another very well made if somewhat uninteresting picture from Scott, maybe barring Monopoly.
Corona Coming Attractions has posted a casting call for Thor, the Marvel adaptation upcoming from the directorial hand of Kenneth Branagh. Check out the posting and consider whether you could pull off such a role: ‘Physically powerful, very handsome, occasionally egotistical, petulant, and wild. A natural warrior with a quick charming wit who must be genuinely and severely humbled before becoming the compassionate, mature hero of our film.’
Geoff Gilmore, the long-standing director of the Sundance Film Festival, is to leave his post to become the chief creative officer of Tribeca Enterprises. He is also joining the board of the company and will take responsibility for ‘global content strategy and lead creative development initiatives and expansion of the brand’, according to a statement published by indieWIRE. Karina Longworth on Spout points out the move in in line with wider announced strategy for Tribeca which is aiming to bring itself closer in line with Sundance as prestige indie festival.
Ang Lee is in talks to direct an adaptation of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, the Booker Prize-winning novel about a young man who survives an accident at sea and ends up sharing a boat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan and a Bengal tiger. The project had been considered by a pre-Happening Shyamalan (who was reportedly replaced by Alfonso Cuaron) and most recently was under the eye of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of Delicatessan and Amelie.
Also in the news, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is keeping up the comic love to star in The Losers; Pride and Prejudice is set to meet the zombie world in an offbeat adaptation produced by Elton John; the Donnie Darko sequel is going straight to DVD; Linda Hamilton is in talks to take a role in Terminator Salvation; Mickey Rourke will not star in Iron Man 2; Breckin Meyer is penning Superguys, to be helmed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, described as ‘‘Ocean’s 11′ with idiots set at Comic-Con.’.