Legendary director Steven Spielberg will celebrate his 70th birthday next year, but the iconic filmmaker is showing no signs of slowing down in regards to his career. He's currently putting the finishing touches on his Cold War drama, Bridge of Spies (arriving October 2015), and already has a July 2016 premiere date for his next film, an adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel, The BFG. When you add in his commitment to directing Jennifer Lawrence in the contemporary war drama It's What I Do, it's hard to imagine the auteur finding free time to take on another big project.
But, apparently, that's exactly what's happening. Spielberg has signed on to helm Warner Bros.' adaptation of the bestselling sci-fi book Ready Player One, which the studio has been trying to get off the ground for a number of years. In the past few months, high profile names such as Christopher Nolan, Peter Jackson and Edgar Wright were said to be circling the project - but it's Spielberg who has landed the gig.
WB president Greg Silverman expressed his excitement and enthusiasm over having Spielberg on board to make the Ready Player One film in his official statement about the news, making reference to the lucrative history between the two parties:
“We are thrilled to welcome Steven back to Warner Bros. We had an historic series of collaborations in the 80s and 90s and have wanted to bring him back for years. As for READY PLAYER ONE, we have always felt that Steven was the dream director for this project.”
For those not in the know, Ready Player One follows teenager Wade Watts, who plays the virtual reality game OASIS: a form of escapism from his bleak real-life existence. When the founder of the program dies, he leaves behind a vast fortune that users can find via a treasure hunt in the game's environment. Wade is quick to take part in the adventure, finding himself going up against greedy corporate suits and other ruthless players who will stop at nothing to claim the prize for their own.
The novel's narrative was described as "ridiculously fun" and "large-hearted" when it was initially released, so one can easily see why WB would want Spielberg to direct. He is well known for his blockbuster hits such as Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park (among several other credits), all of which are very entertaining to watch. Spielberg has a knack for delivering stories that not only thrill, but resonate with viewers on an emotional level - so Ready Player One sounds like it would be right in his wheelhouse. Not to mention, it could be a joyful throwback to his earlier films (even more so than his last popcorn movie, 2011's The Adventures of Tintin).
However, fans of the novel excited at what Spielberg might do with this material are probably going to have to wait a bit before it actually makes it to the screen. Production on The BFG has only just begun, so his schedule may not be clear until the second half of 2016. That said, it's expected he will begin work on Ready Player One immediately following completion of The BFG, so hopefully it won't be on hold for too long.
Regardless, the prospect of Spielberg going back to his blockbuster roots is an exciting one for moviegoers. A master of many genres, Spielberg has demonstrated a keen eye for the sci-fi realm, as illustrated by spell-binding movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. Hopefully Ready Player One can join the ranks of those classics by giving moviegoers something that balances heart and style - like we've come to expect from a Spielberg film. We'll just have to wait and see.
We'll keep you updated on Ready Player One as more information becomes available.
Source: Warner Bros.
"Ready Player One" Artwork by SharksDen @DeviantArt