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Zak Penn to script Ernest Cline's video game novel Ready Player One

06.24.2014

After three years of heated bidding for the rights to adapt the novel, Ernest Cline's video game-inspired scifi tale READY PLAYER ONE is finally moving forward at Warner Bros. The Wrap reports that X2 and THE AVENGERS screenwriter Zak Penn has been brought on board to write the final draft on the adaptation. Earlier drafts were written by Cline himself followed by a revision by Eric Eason.

READY PLAYER ONE, if you aren't a heavy reader, is definitely a book you should check out. It almost reads as if it were designed to be made into a movie and almost feels like a blend of THE HUNGER GAMES and THE MATRIX. Here's the synopsis of the novel.

In the near future, outcast teenager Wade Watts escapes from his bleak surroundings by logging in to the OASIS, a globally networked virtual utopia where users can lead idyllic alternate lives. When the eccentric billionaire who created the OASIS dies, he offers up his vast fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt. Along with gamers from around the world, Wade joins the adventure, and quickly finds himself pitted against powerful corporate foes and other ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the oasis or the real world, to reach the treasure first.

While you may immediately think READY PLAYER ONE sounds like another Young Adult novel, it is definitely not for kids. I could easily see the film being R-rated or at the very least a bleak PG-13. With the right director on board, the book could be developed into a franchise, but a standalone film would be more than feasible to make.

The fan trailer below should give you an idea of the epic scale READY PLAYER ONE could take, but I always envisioned it as a more claustrophobic movie with a lot of CGI effects to generate the world of OASIS. Warner Bros is always on the lookout for big tentpole films and this could definitely fit the bill.

Source: The Wrap

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6:45AM on 06/25/2014

YES

One of the best books I've read in years, BUT that comes with the bias of having grown up in the 80's. Not sure how it'll appeal to other audiences.
One of the best books I've read in years, BUT that comes with the bias of having grown up in the 80's. Not sure how it'll appeal to other audiences.
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1:01AM on 06/25/2014
Excellent book.
Excellent book.
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12:08AM on 06/25/2014
Kind of like .Hack// meets Second Life?
Kind of like .Hack// meets Second Life?
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8:45PM on 06/24/2014
I'm gonna wreck it!
I'm gonna wreck it!
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5:44PM on 06/24/2014
Really torn, but just leave it a book, my imagination created a vision just fine....
Really torn, but just leave it a book, my imagination created a vision just fine....
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4:36PM on 06/24/2014

Did not enjoy the book.

My main reasoning deals with the plot, which may be lightly spoiler-y, so I'll throw up a few SPOILER WARNINGS.

******SPOILERS******
******SPOILERS******
******SPOILERS******

That plot summary is so frustrating to me. To be honest, THAT'S the description that got me to pick up the book (audiobook, actually) in the first place. While it's pretty much dead-on in terms of the larger framework, it's incredibly misleading. That synopsis conveniently leaves out the core of the journey Wade
My main reasoning deals with the plot, which may be lightly spoiler-y, so I'll throw up a few SPOILER WARNINGS.

******SPOILERS******
******SPOILERS******
******SPOILERS******

That plot summary is so frustrating to me. To be honest, THAT'S the description that got me to pick up the book (audiobook, actually) in the first place. While it's pretty much dead-on in terms of the larger framework, it's incredibly misleading. That synopsis conveniently leaves out the core of the journey Wade must take. The "eccentric billionaire" in question was an '80s film/video game/etc. fanatic, so in building his elaborate virtual reality platform OASIS, he hid his fortune in a complex series of puzzles that deal solely with '80s trivia. The book is clearly a labor of love for its author, Ernest Cline, but for me it was really off-putting -- an obscenely indulgent, wholly unrelatable, all-round uninteresting read. I kept reading (well, listening) in the hopes of reaching an area that would transcend these odd plot machinations. Nope. Not only did it frustrate me by being so damn obsessed with itself, the central characters ALL seem to be equally obsessed with AND knowledgeable of '80s trivia. And we're talking obscure, guys. Maybe it's just me, but when I read a book or see a movie, I want to see a hero who ISN'T already an expert in the exact %&$#ing material that his/her great challenge is steeped in.

On a larger note, I have no idea how the material, as is, will ever appeal to a large audience. The only way the film would work FOR ME would be to drop all notions of '80s trivia and make it an adventure through battles, challenges, villains, and riddles that SEEM familiar to us, but are written specifically for the movie. (This would tackle the "licensing nightmare," which studboi69 smartly pointed out.) Maybe subtle homages to the real shit to please the hardcore fans, but honestly, I don't know how comparable this fanbase is to, say, The Hunger Games. Conceptually, the idea of a futuristic world wherein we must look to the past is really great. But right now, I cannot see how the hell the studio would market this to kids/teens if the story so heavily deals with media that's so old, obscure, and frankly irrelevant. I welcome any discussion on this.
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5:11PM on 06/24/2014
Hey Garth relax! Your pills?
Hey Garth relax! Your pills?
5:41PM on 06/24/2014
I'm assuming you didn't grow up in the 80's? And I don't mean you were born in the 80's, that doesn't really count, but most of the references were pretty on the nose for 80's pop culture. Yeah, there were a few obscure Atari references, but like you and studboi pointed out, I'm sure there'll be work arounds to avoid the licensing issues....though the use of robotech towards the end would be awesome....
I'm assuming you didn't grow up in the 80's? And I don't mean you were born in the 80's, that doesn't really count, but most of the references were pretty on the nose for 80's pop culture. Yeah, there were a few obscure Atari references, but like you and studboi pointed out, I'm sure there'll be work arounds to avoid the licensing issues....though the use of robotech towards the end would be awesome....
6:35PM on 06/24/2014
Born in, but not a child of the '80s -- so yeah, I'm biased on that front. But all in all, I felt it was a great concept but a crappy story. I get why a fan of the book and/or '80s pop culture would dig a loyal adaptation. However, I think it'd be far more interesting to craft a story with the same skeleton but invent new, fictional "levels" and more exciting action. '80s shit aside, some of these challenges were just plain boring. I mean, one of the tiers required players to *SPOILER*
Born in, but not a child of the '80s -- so yeah, I'm biased on that front. But all in all, I felt it was a great concept but a crappy story. I get why a fan of the book and/or '80s pop culture would dig a loyal adaptation. However, I think it'd be far more interesting to craft a story with the same skeleton but invent new, fictional "levels" and more exciting action. '80s shit aside, some of these challenges were just plain boring. I mean, one of the tiers required players to *SPOILER* reenact and recite an '80s movie, War Games, word for word...

@cupajoe: You didn't tell 'em about my pubes, did you?
1:09AM on 06/25/2014
"Maybe it's just me, but when I read a book or see a movie, I want to see a hero who ISN'T already an expert in the exact %&$#ing material that his/her great challenge is steeped in."

I think you're missing the point here. Saying this is like saying you're prefer the main character of a martial arts movie to be Joe Schmo off the street, and not Jackie Chan. Percival didn't just happen to be a random fan of the 1980's by accident. He studied Halliday for years with the specific intent to
"Maybe it's just me, but when I read a book or see a movie, I want to see a hero who ISN'T already an expert in the exact %&$#ing material that his/her great challenge is steeped in."

I think you're missing the point here. Saying this is like saying you're prefer the main character of a martial arts movie to be Joe Schmo off the street, and not Jackie Chan. Percival didn't just happen to be a random fan of the 1980's by accident. He studied Halliday for years with the specific intent to make himself an expert in the contest. It would have made less sense for someone who wasn't knowledgeable about that time period to succeed over and over again at 80's-centric challenges.
3:46PM on 06/24/2014

Zzzzzz

Sounds boring, familiar, and uninspired.
Sounds boring, familiar, and uninspired.
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3:45PM on 06/24/2014
It was an entertaining read, especially if you're fan of video games and 80's fanboy material. Yet I don't see how this film will be made since it's going to be a licensing nightmare.
It was an entertaining read, especially if you're fan of video games and 80's fanboy material. Yet I don't see how this film will be made since it's going to be a licensing nightmare.
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3:43PM on 06/24/2014

Yeah Right

It'll just be more YA dreck, watered down for mass consumption. And imho the Hunger Games is highly overrated and boring. More of the same.
It'll just be more YA dreck, watered down for mass consumption. And imho the Hunger Games is highly overrated and boring. More of the same.
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