‘X-Men’ Screenwriter Set to Rewrite ‘Ready Player One’ Script for Warner Bros.

By June 24, 2014

Fans of Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One” have been waiting a long time for the author’s sci-fi novel to make it to the big screen — so long, in fact, that they’ve been waiting since before the thing was even published. Warner Bros. picked up the rights to the novel four years ago, before the book hit shelves in August of 2011, making anticipation for Cline’s first novel, well, pretty high. It paid off, though: the book was a hit, and both its intense imagination and relatable subplots (everyone in the book is obsessed with eighties pop culture, for one thing) made it a fun read and the kind of thing that should translate quite nicely to the big screen.

The film’s script has apparently been through a big batch of changes already — Cline (who has also written a film in Fanboys) first adapted the book before it was rewritten by Eric Eason (A Better Life), and now a new name is stepping into the ring. Fortunately, it’s a recognizable one who is reportedly closer to a final script than anyone else has been so far.

The Wrap reports that Zak Penn has been hired by Warner Bros. to rewrite the film’s script, and his reputation as being a “closer” (very Glengarry Glen Ross) appears to be working twofold — he’ll get the script in correct form and help lure in prospective directors. The outlet reports that “several high-profile filmmakers have already expressed interest in the project,” so it appears that Ready Player One the film is actually starting to tick along quite nicely.

Although Penn has a big rep and a strong resume — he’s written tons of comic book films like The Incredible Hulk, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Elektra; he’s got some solid action stuff under his belt, like Behind Enemy Lines and, uh, Inspector Gadget; and he’s even been working on Pacific Rim 2 with Guillermo del Toro — this doesn’t seem to be a case of some shiny Hollywood screenwriter taking over someone else’s pet project. As The Wrap reports, Cline and Penn are actually new friends, as the pair “recently struck up a friendship, with the author helping the screenwriter excavate a New Mexico burial site where Atari ditched its remaining stock of “E.T” video game cartridges.” That’s sweet!

Zak Penn

Here’s the description of the book:

In the near future, outcast teenager Wade Watts escapes from his bleak surroundings by logging in to the OASIS, a globally networked virtual utopia where users can lead idyllic alternate lives. When the eccentric billionaire who created the OASIS dies, he offers up his vast fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt. Along with gamers from around the world, Wade joins the adventure, and quickly finds himself pitted against powerful corporate foes and other ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the oasis or the real world, to reach the treasure first.

Ready Player One does not yet have a release date.

Are you a fan of the book? Who would you like to see direct it? Star in it?

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss, Film.com, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.