Steven Spielberg has just announced his latest project: Ready Player One. Based on the hugely popular novel of the same name by Ernest Kline, the story sees Wade Watts escaping the dreariness of reality by entering the OASIS, a virtual reality where anything is possible. This world is brimming with pop culture references, including references to Indiana Jones and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – neatly tying into the fact that the director of those films will now be helming this one, according to Deadline.
This move also marks Spielberg’s first film at Warner Bros. since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Warner Bros. obviously adores this type of heightened reality science-fiction fare, as 2010’s box office smash Inception proved, and so Ready Player One will be a comfortable transition – and with any luck, a commercial hit – for the studio. Warner Bros.’ resident director, Christopher Nolan, was rumoured to direct the movie; if that was the case, he has clearly moved on, and means that he and Spielberg essentially swapped movies in the last couple of years (he took over from Spielberg on Interstellar).
With all the pop culture references including the director’s own movies through the novel, will Spielberg end up referencing his own films? The most noticeable time he’s done that in the past was in 1979’s 1941, where he opened up the movie with a parody of Jaws; however, that movie proved to be one of the auteur’s worst. Of course, Spielberg has to finish post-production on Bridge of Spies first, due later this year, before shooting The BFG – so expect it to be a while before a release date for Ready Player One is announced.
(Side note: Going even deeper into the meta-mine that this project seems to be turning into, Ready Player One author Ernest Kline was one of the lead voices in the recent documentary Atari: Game Over, which saw hundreds of people descend on an American landfill to find copies of the supposedly buried E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial video game cartridge. To make this even more complex, he travelled to the dig site in George R. R. Martin’s personal Back to the Future DeLorean replica. Let’s hope the movie is just as bonkers as its real-life connections.)