While book to movie deals happen all the time, it sounds like ‘Ready Player One’ may have just taken one big step forward but an even bigger step back. The novel by Ernie Cline was picked up by Warner Brothers in 2010 but not much had been heard about the film outside of Zak Penn taking over as the screen writer on the project. Well, it sounds like the script for the film is done but there is a major hold up keeping the movie going any further.
The novel itself is about a dystopian world where everyone plays in a virtual reality world called OASIS in their free time. When the creator of the world dies, there is a quest for all of humanity that kicks off in order to try and receive his multi-billion dollar fortune. Pop culture fanatics will get a kick out of the quests as they are all based around 80s movies, music, and video games. Total winning combination right there.
So if the script is done, what is the holding up the film from moving forward? Well it sounds like it’s the licensing deal for access to all of the video games they want to incorporate into the film. Penn discusses how he wrote around this obstacle:
“I’m not going to tell you how I did it but I did do it and I got Ernie’s approval on it. The script’s already in. I feel pretty good about [it]. There’s a number of things in the book that are unbelievably visual and really easy to translate into a screenplay, and then there’s other things that you definitely wouldn’t want to keep in the same form they are in the book. It was just really fortuitous that I was around Ernie a lot, so periodically I would go, ‘Ernie, let me run this by you. Here is the way I’m thinking of doing this.’ If he said, ‘That’s awesome, do it,’ I felt pretty good about it. If he didn’t, I went back to the drawing board.”
Well that doesn’t say much but if the author approves of the work-around that sounds like a winner. So with all of these 80s references being the big problem, how does that play out?
“That doesn’t happen until we’re actually making the movie. Put it this way, I took some huge liberties in the script. Not as many in the book. If you had to license the stuff in the book, it would cost a billion dollars. You write a script, you take your chances, you say, ‘This is what we’re going to do. This is where we’re going to take cars and scenes from these movies and these properties, and then you hope that you’ll get the rights to it, but we’re not at that point yet. I just finished the script. When you start getting into production and casting, that’s when you would start going through and saying, ‘Okay, can we get the rights to Donkey Kong?’ or what have you. It’s very different in a film like that than it is in a documentary where you can just declare fair use and do it.”
So it sounds as if they know what they want and have some wiggle room in case of any denials. That will probably help as we all know video game companies are hit or miss on being included on the big screen.
Do you think ‘Ready Player One’ could be a huge hit among the pop culture driven world that many of us live in? Share your thoughts below!
Source: Slash Film