Steven Spielberg Will Direct Ready Player One—Prepare For 1980s Overload

Illustration for article titled Steven Spielberg Will Direct Ready Player One—Prepare For 1980s Overload

Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One is chock full of tributes to the geek culture of the late 20th century, especially its movies and video games. And it turns out that the movie version will be helmed by a man who has inspired incredible amounts 1980s and 1990s nostalgia all on his own: Steven Spielberg.


Deadline is reporting that Spielberg has signed to direct the movie, set in a crapsack future where most young people spend their time plugged into a virtual world known as OASIS. The book follows Wade Watts, a teenager who is competing in a virtual Easter Egg hunt launched by OASIS' creator, James Halliday. Whoever wins the hunt will inherit Halliday's vast estate and control of OASIS. Watts and his friends are trying to find the egg before other hunters do — including those funding by a multination corporation.

Spielberg is an interesting choice to direct, simply because he created so much of the media that fits into Ready Player One's wheelhouse. Deadline notes that one of the interest filmmaking challenges will be dealing with the sheer amount of licensed content that appears in the book, including the video game Joust and the movie The Last Starfighter. Could we end up seeing some of Spielberg's own movies in the film adaptation of Ready Player One? How might Spielberg portray a world that's nostalgic for the very movies he directed? And how will he portray a movie set in 2044, where the real world is dystopian but the virtual world is obsessed with the eras Spielberg has so lovingly captured on film?

While we love Ready Player One, we've long wondered how well the book will translate to film. A lot of its enjoyment depends on an affection for the pop culture it references, and some scenes that are thrilling in the book could fall flat in a movie. But we're much more intrigued by this movie now that Spielberg is on board. Sure, it could end up being too much a case of the pop culture snake eating its own tale. It could tip the scales from enjoyably nostalgic to sickeningly so. But if this story is in any filmmaker's wheelhouse, it's Spielberg's.

Steven Spielberg To Direct Cult Favorite 'Ready Player One'; Back At Warner Bros [Deadline]


Platypus Man

I read the book and I didn't love it. I was born in the late 80s, so most of the intense 80s references either fell flat for me or were missed entirely. While I liked the story and the setting, over the course of the book I got more and more tired of these references.

Because of that, I think a movie might actually be better. Because they surely won't be able to get the rights to everything in the book and because they'll have to fit it into two hours, there will be a lot cut. To me, that'll distil it down, leaving the better stuff without the chore of endless pointless 80s pop culture references. But to a lot of people who were born in the exact right year, it'll probably kill what made them love the book.

Spielberg is an interesting choice to direct since this really doesn't seem like his usual affair, but I mean — Steven Spielberg. That right there might make it great. We'll see.