Steven Spielberg is set to direct Ready Player One, the highly anticipated project based on the popular sci-fi book by Ernest Cline that takes place in a virtual world. It’s a coup for Warner Bros, which will bring it to the screen. This is expected to be Spielberg’s next movie after The BFG. Ready Player One also marks the director’s return to Warner Bros after a 14-year absence. The last picture he directed there was A.I. Artificial Intelligence in 2001, which the grandmaster Stanley Kubrick had developed there. Before that, it was Empire Of The Sun (1987) and the critically acclaimed The Color Purple (1985). He also produced Gremlins and Goonies in the mid-1980s for the studio.
Spielberg and his films are actually mentioned in the 2011 book. “I also absorbed the complete filmographies of each of his favorite directors, “says the main character Wade Watts at one point as he’s studying the interests of digital utopia creator James Donovan Halliday. “Cameron, Gilliam, Jackson, Fincher, Kubrick, Lucas, Spielberg, Del Toro, Tarantino. And of course Kevin Smith.” There are also references to the Indiana Jones franchise, which Spielberg directed, and E.T. in the wide ranging cultural touchpoints of Ready Player One.
With this news, a question arises about how they will bring a key element of the book’s virtual world to life for the big screen. After all, it seems imperative for the audience to feel like they were dropped into the middle of a video game.
That kind of technology is just becoming available, and if Spielberg brings this to the screen, it could change the face of cinema. The studio has been on the cutting edge of this kind of thing before, pushing the envelope with technology and visual effects with such films as The Lego Movie, Inception and The Matrix – all with great results.
The book takes place in 2044 and follows the story of a virtual-reality game creator who offers up his entire company to the best player who can find an Easter egg in one of his many virtual worlds via a game called OASIS. A teenager named Wade Watts decides to take it on after millions have failed over many years. The key to winning the game is a plethora of pop culture clues from the 1980s. Whomever figures it out and wins the game — without having their avatars killed in the process — takes over the entire OASIS empire.
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