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Fans of Ernest Cline's 80s-nostalgic video game adventure story Ready Player One have been waiting for word on movement of the anticipated feature adaptation, which has been in development for quite a while now. Today, a major update to the film has been made in the form of confirmation that the movie will be directed by Steven Spielberg.
THR posted the news, stating that Spielberg is set to helm the Ready Player One movie after he finishes up with the adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG.
Back in June of 2014, we learned that Zak Penn was adapting Ernest Cline's novel for Warner Bros. planned adaptation. From there, updates weren't frequent. But a few months back, there was talk of Christopher Nolan possibly directing the film. And that's the last we heard until today's update, which attaches Spielberg to the project.
Steven Spielberg has two projects standing between him and the OASIS, one of which is due to hit theaters later this year. Cold War spy film Bridge of Spies stars Tom Hanks and has a release date of October 16, 2015. After that, it's the mentioned BFG, and then if all goes as planned, Spielberg will take on the ambitious task of bringing Cline's Ready Player One to the big screen.
Ready Player One should be a tricky film to adapt to the screen, to put it mildly. The story is set in the future where people spend much of their time plugged into a virtual reality world called the OASIS, where they can work, attend school, shop, socialize or just about anything else. The story follows a kid named Wade who's among those attempting to seek out the easter egg hidden in the OASIS by its deceased creator, James Halliday, who left his fortune (including the OASIS) to whomever manages to find the egg.
Because the OASIS creator grew up in the 1980s, the hunt involves numerous clues related to 80s pop culture, including video games, movies, music and more. Assuming the film will try to incorporate at least some of that 80s nostalgia, obtaining the rights to the properties could prove to be a challenge.
Christopher Nolan's potential involvement in Ready Player One wasn't all that surprising, coming off of Interstellar, but I'm not sure I would have guessed Spielberg as a contender for this film. And yet, it's hard not get excited about this news, especially when we consider the story. Beyond the excellent 80s references and virtual reality setting, Ready Player One is a heck of an underdog tale, as young Wade comes into the story at a disadvantage, by comparison to some of the other people hunting for Halliday's egg. If Halliday is the Willy Wonka of this story, then Wade Watts is the Charlie Bucket. He's a good kid, who doesn't have much, but he believes he can find the egg. Adventure ensues.
I've been hopeful that whoever takes on the project will maintain some of the heart of the story in addition to getting the sci-fi and references right. Spielberg could prove to be the perfect person for the job. Here's hoping!
As The BFG isn't due to arrive in theaters until July 2016, we still have a while to wait before Ready Player One will hit theaters.