For several years now a movie based on the popular Bioshock video game franchise has been in development. At one point Gore Verbinski (the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies) was in the director’s chair, but couldn’t come to an agreement with the studio about the film’s projected budget and his demand for an R-rating. Verbinski assumed producing duties instead and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) took over as director. But now it looks like the Spanish filmmaker is no longer involved with the long-gestating Bioshock movie either.
“To be honest, by now, I’m completely out of that, and developing other stuff,” Fresnadillo said in an interview with the Playlist while promoting his latest film Intruders. “Right now it’s on hold. The studio and the videogame company, they have to reach some kind of agreement about the budget and the rating.” Despite the popularity of the Bioshock games the franchise has a very limited fanbase outside the gaming community and wouldn’t necessarily justify the sizable nine-figure budget required to bring the game to life on the big screen. Verbinski looks to be staying on as producer.
This is the second major film project Fresnadillo has had to break away from in recent months. He was once attached to directing the remake of The Crow with Bradley Cooper tipped to star, but when the director dropped out of the movie his prospective leading man soon followed. “We were so close,” Fresnadillo said regarding the development work he did with Cooper during his time on The Crow. “I really love him as an actor and a person. But it was an agenda thing. It didn’t match my agenda or [scheduling] so I decided to jump out.”
While Fresnadillo has departed two high-profile genre productions and doesn’t look to be returning for the in-development 28 Months Later (“He was very generous, and the perfect producer given that he’s a filmmaker as well,” he about Danny Boyle, his producer on 28 Weeks Later. “But I haven’t discussed the idea with him.”) he still remains attached to the Highlander reboot. “I’m developing the possibility of making Highlander,” the filmmaker said of the project that, much like the Crow remake, has been widely criticized by devoted fans of the series. “I find the concept very interesting, immortality as a curse. We’re using the materials of the universe, but this is some kid of reboot, since the story could use a new approach.”
Lest anyone think Fresnadillo’s vision of Highlander will be taking Connor McLeod of the Clan McLeod to the unfathomable territory of the mythology-screwing Highlander II: The Quickening (the horror….the horror….) the director had some reassuring words for the fans: “Everything comes from the universe of the original film. There will be no aliens!”