LOS ANGELES - After transporting gamers to the submerged metropolis of Rapture and the floating city of Columbia in his critically acclaimed series "BioShock," Ken Levine is traveling to a very different destination: Hollywood.
The 46-year-old creative director of Boston-based Irrational Games has been tapped by Warner Bros. to write a screenplay based on the sci-fi tale "Logan's Run."
"As a writer, I owe a great debt to `Logan's Run,'" said Levine in an interview Monday. "When I saw the movie and read the book when I was 10 years old, it was my first encounter with a dystopia. If you think about the games I make, dystopias are very central to that. If `Logan's Run' didn't have an impact on me when I was a kid, there wouldn't have been a `BioShock.'"
The original "Logan's Run" film was released in 1976 and starred Michael York, Richard Jordan and Farrah Fawcett as citizens of a hedonistic 23rd century domed city that vaporizes willing residents when they reach age 30. The campy sci-fi movie was loosely based on the book of the same name published in 1967 by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.
"For me, the first challenge is why people make that bargain," said Levine. "That was never fully answered in the book or the movie to my satisfaction. I really want to answer that question. I want to look at that society in the same way people look at Rapture and Columbia and say, `OK. I get it. I may not wanna live there, but I get why people are on board.'"
For more than a decade, Warner Bros. has attempted to remake the cult classic with such directors attached to the project as Bryan Singer ("X-Men," "Superman Returns") and Joseph Kosinski ("Tron: Legacy," "Oblivion"). Their versions never got off the ground. Levine's new high-profile gig doesn't mean he's gone Hollywood, though. He said he'll continue to work on games.
"I have no illusions about how things work in Hollywood," said Levine, who's currently toiling away on a new downloadable chapter of "BioShock Infinite." "I'm in a different place in the film industry than I am in the game industry. I worked very long and hard to get to where I am in games. People put a lot of faith in me. That's not really the case in film."
"Logan's Run" marks a long, winding road back to Hollywood for Levine, who hasn't actually started writing the script but is envisioning the world where a new "Logan's Run" will be set. After he graduated from Vassar College in 1988 with a drama degree, Levine attempted - and failed - to launch a screenwriting career in Los Angeles. Instead, he opted to go into games.