Our last Ready Player One-centered news item was also the first, that being a June 2010 announcement which told us Warner Bros. was snatching up the rights to Ernie Cline‘s sci-fi novel. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but that development completely dropped off my radar. But here we are some nineteen months later, telling you that the project is still alive at the studio; they just need a rewrite.
Variety reports that A Better Life scribe Eric Eason has been hired to rework the author’s own screenplay, a job he earned by creating character-driven stories and lending an “interesting perspective” to “such a big, concept-driven film.” Cline‘s novel sounds like it has the makings of that, too; it centers on “an avid gamer who prefers to log into an idyllic virtual world called Oasis in order to escape the his bleak life.” After the creator dies — but puts his savings up as the reward of a new game — he must “fend off rival players and sinister corporations who will stop at nothing — in both the real and virtual worlds — to win the grand prize.”
Comparisons to The Matrix, Avatar, and Willy Wonka have been raised since the book started generating buzz, but virtual worlds and dastardly corporations means that all I can really think of is Tron. But I wouldn’t want to dock points from it this early on, and — thank God — the strong reviews have indicated that Ready Player One isn’t just nostalgia porn for geeks. And someone like myself — that is, a mild sci-fi fan who can really get behind the good offerings of the genre — would be up for a well-executed, entertaining adaptation of this story. With that feeling in place, I’m rooting for Eason to pull this one off.
Have you read the original book? Does it have the right ingredients for a strong film?
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