Ken Levine Explains Why He Called Off a BioShock Movie


It was just a few years ago that word broke of Gore Verbinski’s (Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango) plans to develop BioShock as a feature film. Unfortunately, budgetary concerns led to the project being cancelled and, today, Irrational Games’ creative director Kevin Levine reveals that it was he himself that ultimately decided to “kill” the project.

“My theory is that Gore wanted to make a hard R film,” Levine recalls, “…Then ‘Watchmen’ came out, and it didn’t do well for whatever reason. The studio then got cold feet about making an R rated $200 million film, and they said what if it was a $80 million film – and Gore didn’t want to make a $80 million film… They brought another director in, and I didn’t really see the match there – and 2K’s one of these companies that puts a lot of creative trust in people. So they said if you want to kill it, kill it. And I killed it.” spoke with Verbinski some time back about his plans and he himself lamented the budget woes.

“I couldn’t really get past anybody that would spend the money that it would take to do it and keep an R rating,” he said. “Alternately, I wasn’t really interested in pursuing a PG-13 version. Because the R rating is inherent. Little Sisters and injections and the whole thing. I just wanted to really, really make it a movie where, four days later, you’re still shivering and going, ‘Jesus Christ!’… It’s a movie that has to be really, really scary, but you also have to create a whole underwater world, so the pricetag is high. We just didn’t have any takers on an R-rated movie with that pricetag.”

As for whether or not a BioShock movie could someday happen, neither Gore or Levine is fully writing off the possibility.

“It comes along so rarely,” says Levine, “but I had the world, the world existed and I didn’t want to see it done in a way that I didn’t think was right. It may happen one day, who knows, but it’d have to be the right combination of people.”

“That would be a great movie to do in 3D,” Verbinski said. “I’d like to go into that world wearing a pair of glasses. I think in general, gaming is perfect for 3D. Anything where you’re the protagonist… To make people feel on-edge.”

Check out Eurogamer‘s full interview with Levine in the player below: