Fresnadillo to Replace Verbinski on Bioshock

If his work on 2007’s “28 Weeks Later” is any indication, I don’t give the characters of “Bioshock” a whole lot of chances of coming out of the movie alive. That is, if Variety is correct and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo indeed signs on to helm Universal Pictures’ live-action adaptation of the popular videogame, replacing original director Gore Verbinski. The “Pirates” director will stay on as a producer, since at this point it probably doesn’t pay to jump ship, not after the time he’s spent trying to get the movie off the ground, even bypassing directing “Pirates of the Caribbean 4”.

According to the trade, Fresnadillo, who made his U.S. debut with the zombie sequel “28 Weeks Later”, is currently in talks to board the project, which has hit some delays due to budget concerns by the studio. In order to keep costs lower (the film’s budget has since ballooned to $160 million, which apparently even the studio is unwilling to front in this economy) the studio has decided to move the production aboard in order to take advantage of production tax credits and try to squeeze more out of the dollar with the favorable exchange rates.

The film was mostly dead for a while there, though I suspect Universal just took a peek at the box office numbers for “District 9”, and wondered what could have happened if they had only gone forward with that Peter Jackson-produced and Neill Blomkamp-directed “Halo” movie they decided not to do, only to watch Blomkamp and Jackson go on to have great success with their “District 9”. The fact that they are now actively trying to sign Fresnadillo would seem to signal their renewed commitment to getting “Bioshock” made, something that was not evident before.

Based on the game by Take-Two, “Bioshock” is set in an alternate history in the year 1960, and takes place in the seemingly utopian underwater city of Rapture, where a pilot crash-lands and becomes involved in the city’s internal power struggle. Hey, at least they’re not trying to eat him, so that’s a plus.

Drill for a left hand -- check. Creepy girl -- check.

Drill for a left hand -- check. Creepy girl -- check.