Verbinski Explores RPGs for Universal

Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski wants to venture into the darker side of massively multiplayer online role-play games for the big screen. According to Daily Variety, the filmmaker and Universal Pictures have acquired a 2007 Wall Street Journal article about someone who has abandon his real life in favor of living as an animated avatar in a virtual world. Verbinski plans to direct and produce the pic from a screenplay by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises).

The film will be based on Alexandra Alter’s article about a diabetic, chain-smoking 53-year-old married man who spends up to 20 hours a day online, where he is a wealthy, musclebound entrepreneur. Verbinski will produce through his Universal-based Blind Wink Prods., along with WAM Films’ Alain Chabat, Stephanie Danan and Sarah Shepard.

This is the second video-game related movie Verbinski has signed on to direct for Universal. He is also helming a vfx-laden, live-action version of Take Two Interactive’s hit sci-fi survival game Bioshock. In addition, he is producing Universal’s remake of the popular Korean monster movie The Host, and is developing his first animated feature, Rango, with Johnny Depp on board to provide the voice of the title dog in the Paramount flick.