After 14 years away, Steven Spielberg is returning to Warner Bros. to direct Ready Player One. Based on the 2011 novel by Ernie Cline, the story revolves around a young boy whose obsession with a virtual reality world called OASIS leads him on a mission to uncover a video game easter egg. The studio snapped up the rights back in 2010 before the novel had even hit shelves and has since been narrowing down a shortlist of potential filmmakers to bring Cline’s futuristic vision to the big screen.
One of the reasons for the delay in development is due to the technological nature of the book. As mentioned, Cline’s story briefly lingers in the rubble of a dystopian landscape but most of the action takes place within OASIS. To encapsulate the sensations described in the novel it would be prudent to ensure that feeling of being inside an actual video game was possible. But how will Spielberg achieve that? Here’s what studio president Greg Silverman told Deadline:
“At Warner’s, we always have our eye on all the groundbreaking visual effects and technology available worldwide, and we feel very confidant with any new ground that Steven would want to tackle. He’s a master filmmaker so we feel very comfortable with him. The story is the main thing and whatever works best for audience enjoyment is what we’ll do.”
The second dilemma – which has been the biggest stumbling block – is the matter of intellectual property. Ready Player One is stuffed with pop culture references taken from movies, TV shows, books and games. Most of these nods are mined from the ’80s and serve a large portion of the plot as the boy in question (Wade Watts) must unravel a series of clues left by the OASIS designer in order to unlock the easter egg. Trouble is, all of those clues are wrapped up in specific references that may incite a number of rights issues for Warner. Again, Silverman seems to think they can work around that:
“I think what we have to do is drill down to the best version of the movie and then see who wants to be a part of what will surely be a great film.”
Spielberg is currently putting the finishing touches on Bridge Of Spies, before ramping up work on The BFG which is headed into production soon. Upon completion of the Roald Dahl adaptation he’ll be tackling Ready Player One. In light of this very exciting news, it looks like he’s definitely not beginning work on that other sci-fi adaptation, Robopocalypse.