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Universal, Verbinski Take On Online Fantasy World Devotee

Gore Verbinski (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) and Universal have bought the rights to a WALL STREET JOURNAL article depicting the detrimental effect that online fantasy role-playing games have on people's real lives, per VARIETY.

The 2007 article, by Alexandra Alter, focuses on a married man who spends upwards of 20 hours a day at his computer, role playing as a muscled entrepreneur, when he is in fact a diabetic, chain-smoking 53-year-old.

Verbinski is planning to direct with a script by Steven Knight (EASTERN PROMISES). Alain Chabat, Stephanie Danan and Sarah Shepard of WAM Films will produce the project with Verbinski, which is at the studio via his Universal-based Blind Wink productions.

After signing on to direct live-action videogame adaptation BIOSHOCK for Universal, Verbinski signed a first-look deal with the studio. The director also recently set up THE HOST, a remake of the 2006 Korean thriller with Fredrik Bond to direct and Mark Poirer to write, at Universal.