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Spielberg to direct video game-themed adventure Ready Player One

Written by folks behind The Avengers and Atari: Game Over.

It's no secret that Steven Spielberg is a fan of video games and now, for an upcoming film, he'll be directing an adaptation of Ernest Cline's video game-themed cyberpunk thriller Ready Player One.

Ready Player One will be Spielberg's first feature with Warner Bros. since A.I. in 2001.

The 2012 novel is set in the year 2044 where a teenager sets out on a scavenger hunt in a virtual world made by a man obsessed with 1980s pop culture. Unfortunately, the grand prize is so coveted that folks in the real world are willing to kill to get at it.

As reported by Deadline, Ready Player One's latest script was written by Zak Penn, who co-wrote The Avengers, X-Men: The Last Stand, and the upcoming Pacific Rim 2.

Ready Player One's author actually worked with Penn before on Atari: Game Over, the documentary about the excavation of buried video game software and hardware after the industry crashed in the early 80s when E.T. became a phenomenally huge disaster.

Eurogamer contributor Dan Whitehead was rather impressed with that film. "Atari: Game Over is still one of the best films about gaming this year and should be seen by anyone with an interest in the medium's early wild west years," he wrote in our Atari: Game Over review.

Given that Ready Player One deals with tons of pop culture references, distributor Warner Bros. will have to gain the rights to use various cultural icons in the film, but that shouldn't be a problem for the company that successfully combined the Batman and Star Wars in the Lego Movie. "I think what we have to do is drill down to the best version of the movie and then see who wants to be a part of what will surely be a great film," said Warner Bros.' president of creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman. "What we found with The Lego Movie is that when we went and talked to those having the rights, people got excited about being involved."

Oddly enough, Spielberg is actually mentioned by name in the novel Ready Player One. The protagonist, Wade Watts, says that he "absorbed the complete filmographies of each of his favourite directors," referring to the architect of the virtual world where much of the adventure is set. Apparently these include: "Cameron, Gilliam, Jackson, Fincher, Kubrick, Lucas, Spielberg, Del Toro, Tarantino. And of course Kevin Smith."

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