Marking the firs new project with Warner Bros. Pictures since 2001’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Steven Spielberg will direct Ready Player One for the studio, based on the best-selling young adult novel by author Ernest Cline published in 2011.
According to Deadline, Spielberg will direct the film which has been in the hands of Warner Bros. since before even the book was published, and due to it’s setting in a primarily virtual world, a director of Spielberg’s caliber was likely sought at right from the start. The story follows a young gamer in the year 2044 who, like many people, spends a great deal of his time inside a virtual utopia called the OASIS. The OASIS’ creator, a man named James Halliday, created a sprawling space with thousands of virtual worlds for players to explore. Before his death, Halliday stipulated in his will that whoever finds an especially well-hidden Easter Egg inside one of OASIS’ worlds would inherit his estate, and gain control of the OASIS. As a result, this has led to a years-long search by many people for the Egg itself. The book’s protagonist, Wade Watts, is a player who is trying to discover that hidden Easter Egg.
The book’s impressive six-figure sale to Warner Bros. in 2010 is only outdone by its critical acclaim, topping several “best of” lists from literary and pop culture enthusiast groups, as well as making the New York Times‘ best sellers’ list. The last draft of the screenplay was reportedly written by Zak Penn, who in geek circles is primarily known for writing films like Elektra and X-Men: The Last Stand, while receiving story-by credit on films like The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers (which were primarily written by Edward Norton and Joss Whedon, respectively).
If Penn stays on as the writer of the final film, this will be something of a reunion with Ernest Cline, as they collaborated together on the recently released documentary Atari: Game Over chronicling the rumored “Atari landfill” created after the disastrous response to the Atari 2600 video game of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (the film of which was, coincidentally directed by Steven Spielberg).
Warner Bros. studio president Greg Silverman released a statement regarding Spielberg’s return to them, saying,
We are thrilled to welcome Steven back to Warner Bros. We had an historic series of collaborations in the 1980s and 1990s and have wanted to bring him back for years.
While there’s not yet any release information, Spielberg and producers Donald De Line and Dan Farah may have to orchestrate some other deals before cameras begin rolling, as the original novel features a plethora of pop culture references for intellectual properties owned by entities other than Warner Bros. When asked, though, Greg Silverman believed that the situation would be comparable to The Lego Movie, where references to other licenses were allowed “enthusiastically” by the rights owners.
For more on this story as it develops further, keep it locked on GeekNation!
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