Variety reports that Universal Studios and Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski are to make a film about a man who loses his life to an online virtual world.
The studio and helmsman have acquired the rights to a Wall Street Journal article by Alexandra Alter called 'Is This Man Cheating On His Wife?'
The article details the Second Life addiction of Ric Hoogestraat, a chain-smoking, diabetic middle-aged man who would spend as many as 20 hours a day living a virtual existence as a thriving young businessman, and who had an in-game marriage to another player (not his wife).
MTV reckons that Verbinski won't be making a straight adaptation of the real-life story, but rather using it as a starting point for a fiction about the "detrimental effects of role-playing" - slamming the perceived dysfunction of MMO gamers and virtual world users, in other words.
Steven Knight, who wrote the excellent Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things, will handle the script, so hopefully the film won't dumb down the issue too much.
Verbinski's leaning strongly towards the digital world for his subject matter; he's also slated to make a big-screen BioShock.
Beats adapting theme park rides, we suppose.