Filmmaker Steven Spielberg is famously choosy about his projects, and he’s not afraid to back away at the last minute if things don’t feel right, but boy does it look like Ready Player One is going to happen. We learned in March that Spielberg had signed on to direct an adaptation of Ernest Cline’s engrossing sci-fi novel, and that news was a big deal: Spielberg is perhaps the only filmmaker who could feasibly get the rights to every crucial pop culture reference in Cline’s geek-friendly book. But still, Spielberg’s signed on to a lot of projects in the past and dropped out. He fully cast Robopocalypse before putting that film on hold, and he developed American Sniper for a few months with Bradley Cooper before pulling out. So would his involvement hold? Were we destined for another story, four months down the road, that Spielberg wouldn’t be making Ready Player One after all?
Well today, Warner Bros. has set a firm release date for the film, and Spielberg is still attached. The pic will drop on December 15, 2017, which as of right now is fairly barren. WB is marking its flag in the holiday territory, and it’s doing so with a big sci-fi adventure film adapted from a beloved book, directed by Steven Spielberg. Zak Penn wrote the script, and the film is being produced by Spielberg, Donald De Line, Dan Farah, and Spielberg’s longtime colleague Christie Macosko Krieger.
For those unfamiliar with the source material, the story takes place in 2044 and revolves around the poverty-stricken Wade Watts, who’s only escape is trying to solve a decades old game from the late James Halliday creator of the worldwide, virtual reality space, OASIS. Working along the lines of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, if Wade can progress through the VR game, he gets to own OASIS, which is pretty much the equivalent of owning the Internet. The trick to beating the game is to figure out how to decipher the clues that are rooted in Halliday’s love of 1980s pop culture.
Spielbeg is, quite simply, the perfect fit for this kind of film—he’s an avid gamer and he created much of our beloved 1980s pop culture—and I’m crossing my fingers that he actually makes this movie. I have my issues with Ready Player One, but on the whole it’s a fun novel with a fantastic foundation, and I think Spielberg can do wonders with it. Keep those fingers crossed, folks…