Gore Verbinski signs deal with Universal

'BioShock' is director's first project at studio

Gore Verbinski has signed a three-year, first-look deal with Universal Pictures.

The director, best known for the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, already has a project set up at the studio, the video game adaptation "BioShock." "BioShock" will act as Verbinski's first movie out of the gate that he will produce and direct. The special effects-heavy tentpole, written by John Logan, is set in the mysterious underwater utopia named Rapture.

"Gore has a innate sense of what thrills and entertains audiences around the world, an unmatched ability to navigate genres and talent that elevates any film he's on with peerless imagination and craftsmanship," said Universal co-chairman David Linde in a statement. "He resides among a very rare class of filmmaker and is coming to Universal at a time when every conceivable option in the industry was available to him.

Said Verbinski: "The people here have a genuine passion for filmmaking and a deep appreciation of the cinematic experience... I look forward to taking my own productivity up a notch both as a producer and director, by building a brand that will focus on my core business while synergizing multiple forms of entertainment. We are at a confluence of media in all its forms and I am eager to create a company that will navigate and participate in this evolution."

Verbinski also directed a string of movies for DreamWorks, which included "The Ring," "The Weather Man" with Nicolas Cage, "The Mexican," starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts," and 1997's "Mouse Hunt."