Films get announced, and then consigned to development Hell, all the time in Hollywood – it’s just the nature of the business. Because of that, I usually advise people not to get too excited when some big new project is announced. There’s always a good chance it will wind up languishing in cinematic purgatory forever. I’m good at doling out advice like that – but not so good at taking it. There’ve been two film projects that I really wanted to see that fell apart in the past few years. One was Guillermo del Toro’s planned adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. The other was Gore Verbinski’s big-budget take on the popular video game Bioshock. Neither looks like it’s happening anytime soon.
However, you can weep over what might have been thanks to these new concept-art pieces for the planned feature, which come courtesy of artist Jim Martin. Martin has done a magnificent job of capturing the look and atmosphere of the ruined underwater city of Rapture – which provides the backdrop for a story about a city built on Randian principles gone horribly wrong.
I’ve no doubt that Verbinski would have made a great film with this material, and the concept art only further cements that idea in my head. Unfortunately, Universal got cold feet when it realized it was about to spend $200 million bucks on an R-rated video game movie. When Verbinski couldn’t accept the much lower budget of $80 million, he bailed on the film. After that, the game’s creator – Ken Levine – basically killed the whole production.
And so, Bioshock is now the greatest video game movie that never was – but at least we can pick through wreckage of preproduction and imagine how it might have turned out.
See some of my favorite images below, then check out Martin’s blog for even more goodies.
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