A previous report that Christopher Nolan was being eyed to direct an adaptation of the popular Ernest Cline novel Ready Player One was only partially right. As it turns out, Nolan’s is one of a number of marquee filmmakers who are on the studio’s shortlist to make the movie version of the award-winning book. Warner Bros., who is developing the adaptation and, frankly, are hungry for a new franchise, see potential gold in an idea that’s been described as one part Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, one part The Matrix, and one part The Da Vinci Code. So who all is looking to be recruited? And is one of them ready to step into the world of Ready Player One? Buckle your seat belts, because there’s some pretty provocative names on the list.
According to the godfather of internet movie news, Ain’t It Cool, Warner Bros. has its eyes on the following directors to take the helm of Ready Player One:
According to AIC, Zemeckis is the frontrunner because of “how heavily his work is referenced in the book. It would be him revisiting the stuff from his heyday that we all fell in love with him for, and would probably the closest we’d ever get to a Zemeckis-directed BTTF 4.” That’s Back to the Future 4 if that’s not perfectly obvious. Of course it would be interesting if Zemeckis revisited Back to the Future in someway because next year is 2015 and nobody looks like the future version of themselves as portrayed in Back to the Future Part II, but I digress.
Now Zemeckis is the only person in that list currently working on something. His dramatization of Phillippe Petit‘s tight rope walk between the World Trade Center towers in 1974, The Walk, is currently in post-production for a release date next fall. Jackson’s almost done with The Hobbit, Vaughn’s got The Kingsman coming out early in the new year, and Wright famously quit his last project (although rumor has it he’s up for a new one), so any one of them could probably start work on the film immediately. The studio apparently like where Zak Penn (Incredible Hulk, X-Men: The Last Stand) currently sits with the script, so they may want to get going quickly rather than wait for Zemeckis to get free.
But no matter who gets the director’s job, they’re going to have a lot of material to work with. Cline’s novel takes place in future dystopian world where life on Earth is so bad that most people have retreated into a massive online virtual reality world called OASIS. The creator of OASIS, James Halliday, died five years before the start of the book, and his fortune and controlling stake in the company that owns OASIS is up for grabs to the person that can follow the clues hidden in Easter Eggs throughout the VR. Because Halliday grew up in the 80s, a lot of the details in the various OASIS levels are 80s-inspired, and there are so many of those little details that you might have to be Abed from Community in order to catch them all.
Between the young adult protagonist, dystopian themes, and huge fantasy world, Ready Player One is a no brainer for any studio to rush into development. The question is whether or not any of these major players in the film business, Nolan included, are going to be game for making it? Stay tuned…