Rumor: Steven Spielberg to Coax Gene Wilder Out of Retirement for READY PLAYER ONE

     August 10, 2015

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It was but a few days ago when we reported that Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One had landed a release date of December 15, 2017. In a surprising move, Spielberg has yet to exit the project. In a more surprising move, a new rumor suggests that Spielberg has met with Gene Wilder in an attempt to lure the Oscar-nominated actor out of retirement. While these meetings haven’t been officially confirmed and neither has the project in question, the one that makes the most sense is the aforementioned adaptation of Ernest Cline’s nostalgia-filled, video game-playing novel.

AICN reports that meetings “will be [sic] or already have taken place,” and then goes on to suggest that Wilder would be perfect for the role of James Halliday in Ready Player One. I wholeheartedly agree! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the novel, Halliday is a gifted programmer and game designer who develops a massively popular online simulator known as OASIS. This is more than a game, it’s a virtual universe that replaces the real world in almost every way imaginable. In a Willy Wonka-like style of character, after his death Halliday’s will reveals the presence of a hidden Easter egg somewhere within OASIS, and that whoever finds it will inherit his unfathomably huge fortune. You can kind of already see Wilder in the role, right?


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Image via Warner Bros.

Then again, Spielberg has loads of projects in the works. Ready Player One may have the best odds for a Wilder role at the moment due to timing of the release date announcement and the fact that Spielberg is still (for now) attached to direct. But another possible project AICN considered was that of a voice role in Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, which is currently in post-production and seems to have its voice cast set.

Regardless of what role he plays, it would be fantastic to see/hear Wilder on the big screen once again. The last time he stepped in front of the camera was for a 2003 episode of Will & Grace. Great as that show might have been, I’m hoping he wants to put at least one more iconic performance at the top of his credits. Would you like to see Wilder back in good form? Let us know in the comments!


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