Steven Spielberg directing VR sci-fi novel adaptation READY PLAYER ONE

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ready-player-one

The movie adaption of Ernest Cline’s 2011 sci-fi novel ‘Ready Player One’ has been searching for a director for a while now, with Warner Bros. having looked at names like Peter Jackson (Lord of The Rings), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy), Matthew Vaughn (X-Men franchise) and Edgar Wright (Cornetto trilogy) to helm the project ever since they picked up the movie rights way back in 2010. But now Deadline are reporting they’ve decided on, and very aptly for the project, Steven Spielberg.

Why aptly, you ask? Well if you’re not familiar with the novel take a look at the synopsis (via Amazon):

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

steven-spielberg

The decades’ past pop culture they’re referring to are the 1980’s, and if there is one person whose work left an indelible mark on that period it’s Steven Spielberg. Do names like Indiana Jones, E.T., Gremlins, Back to the Future or The Goonies (and that’s just to name a few) ring a bell? If not you definitely haven’t read the book, which references them among many other things (including Spielberg directly), or have been living under a rock. All those references, particularly to movies, TV and songs, are also what’s complicated development of the project because multiple companies hold the rights to them. While it doesn’t affect the book which, for example, can describe footage from Gremlins, showing the footage would infringe on the rights of properties’ owners. Never mind just how complicated it’ll be to depict the VR world as a separate entity from the real world in the movie.

It’s also a very timely project given the subject matter, with research into virtual reality gaming currently being pushed quite firmly (again). Companies such as the Facebook-acquired Oculus VR (Oculus Rift), Sony (Morpheus) and Valve (SteamVR) are some of those working on bringing virtual reality to the general public. A movie exploring where it can go and its societal impact could be really interesting. Hopefully in the movie they’ll have fixed the problem of input lag which causes some people to lose their lunch while using a VR headset, or we might end up with some The Exorcist-level vomiting on screen.

Last Updated: March 27, 2015

Trevor Davies

I like pie, I think.

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