Francis Lawrence to Direct Video Game Adaptation ‘BioShock’
Michael Green will script the movie for Netflix based on the bestselling game series that has long lingered in development hell.
The chances of the ‘BioShock’ games finally making the leap to movie screens – or, given the company involved, TVs – took a huge step forward in February this year when Netflix announced it had grabbed the rights to make a movie based on the popular title.
Since then, the streaming service has been looking for the right people to write and direct the project (which has stalled in the past). Now it appears to have done just that, as Deadline reports that ‘Hunger Games’ veteran Francis Lawrence is in the director’s chair, with ‘Jungle Cruise’ writer Michael Green ready to work on the script.
Routinely cropping up on lists of the best video games ever, the first ‘BioShock’ was released in 2007 from 2K Games, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive.
Originally created by Ken Levine and his Irrational Games team, ‘BioShock’ is a first-person shooter game where you play as Jack, the lone survivor of a plane crash over the Atlantic Ocean in the 1960s.
He discovers a crumbling underwater city named Rapture, dreamt up by an eccentric business magnate called Andrew Ryan. Rapture has seen better days, and Jack must battle a variety of enemies, like the super-powered, drug-addicted Splicers and massive, diving-suit-clad Big Daddies, to escape. However, Jack’s own mental state and the origins of his plane crash are far from what they originally seem...
The game was a huge success on its initial release and was followed by two sequels — ‘BioShock 2’ in 2010 and 2013’s ‘BioShock Infinite’ — which expanded the dystopian landscape as it combined action, sci-fi and horror, allowing players to stomp about as one of the Big Daddies. In all, the series has sold more than 39 million copies to date.
That financial haul coupled with the fan reaction meant Hollywood was quick to come calling, with Gore Verbinski attached to direct an R-rated movie version. But while everyone seemed excited for it, the movie ended up stalling when the likes of Zack Snyder’s ‘Watchmen’ failed to fly at the box office.
Netflix, of course, doesn’t have to worry about box office and, despite recent shareholder concerns about falling subscriber numbers, still has money to splash around for these things. We don’t doubt that it’ll look to lock down a star name or two to give this one extra appeal, but the ‘BioShock’ name is pretty big already, while Lawrence and Green know what they are doing when it comes to bigger-budget movies.
Lawrence, of course, has recently worked with Netflix on the Jason Momoa-starring fantasy adventure ‘Slumberland,’ which arrives on the streaming service on November 18th. He’s currently at work making the latest ‘Hunger Games’ movie, in this case the prequel called ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,’ starring Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Viola Davis, Jason Schwartzman and Peter Dinklage. That movie is set for release in theaters on November 17th next year.