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Bioshock Movie Director aims to follow the Game Tone.

by John Paul
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Francis Lawrence, the man behind the helm of the upcoming BioShock film, has assured fans that he would faithfully capture the spirit of the original video game. The first BioShock game was released in 2007 and received praise for its surprising plot, stunning visuals, and intricate ideas. A film adaptation of BioShock has been in development for quite some time. However, it was reported earlier this year that it would debut on Netflix in August, with director Francis Lawrence on board. There aren’t many concrete facts about the project at the moment. But the first game gives players a good idea of what to expect: protagonist Jack will be the only survivor of an aircraft crash in the Atlantic Ocean in 1960. He will then find the enigmatic underwater metropolis of Rapture.

Lawrence recently spoke to Collider about his collaboration with Netflix on the BioShock film and how that has allowed him to stay true to the game’s tone. Lawrence doesn’t give much away about what fans may expect from his BioShock adaptation. But he says he’s been in frequent contact with the game’s publisher, Take-Two Interactive, and the project’s creative lead, Ken Levine. If you want to know more about Lawrence’s comment, read below.

“There’s always discussions about rating and tone. I don’t want to get into it too much now because it’s pretty early on in the process, but I certainly have not felt stifled in any way, or sent in any directions with Netflix. I mean, basically me and Cameron [MacConomy] who works with me, and Michael are getting to do what we want to do, which is great. A lot of it is staying really true to the game itself, and we’re talking to Take-Two [Interactive] and Ken Levine.”

Lawrence’s response implies that the BioShock movie will be rated R or TV-MA, though he stops short of saying so. The original BioShock game has a Mature rating. Therefore only those 17 and up should play it. Lawrence’s remark suggests that the movie will keep the R rating’s blood and gore, drug references, violent violence, sexual themes, and strong language that earned the game it’s rating. Gore Verbinski, director of Pirates of the Caribbean, was set to oversee a BioShock film for Universal in 2010. But the project was apparently scrapped due to his insistence on an R rating, which would have been a significant financial burden considering the film’s estimated $200 million budget.

BioShock’s enduring popularity can be attributed, in part, to the game’s mood and atmosphere. Nearly all the action takes place in a creepy underwater metropolis populated by dangerous monsters. Big Daddies from BioShock, for instance, are people that have been fused into enormous robotic diving suits that come equipped with a weapon on one arm. A huge motorized drill is among these weapons, and it is employed in some very gruesome and gory murders. A mature audience may be preferable for Lawrence’s adaptation of BioShock due to both the graphic violence and the pervasive sense of discomfort and anxiety in the original game.

A lot still isn’t known about the planned BioShock movie. But it appears that Lawrence and his co-directors have been given complete leeway by Netflix. Lawrence’s remark hints that fans may receive something close to that with his adaptation (albeit the movie’s price tag will probably be lower). However, Universal may not have been willing to take the chance on an R-rated, $200-million movie. Fans of the original BioShock video game franchise may rest assured that filmmaker Francis Lawrence will stay loyal to the game in his adaptation. Unfortunately,  we cannot expect it to hit theatres anytime soon.



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