Steven Spielberg to direct film version of Ready Player One

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Mar 25, 2015, 5:46 PM EDT (Updated)

There has been little news recently on the screen adaptation of Ready Player One -- until today.

According to The Wrap, Steven Spielberg is going to get behind the camera for the movie based on Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel. That is a huge boost for the project, which Warner Bros. had offered to Christopher Nolan last year and which seemed to be in a kind of limbo in recent months.

We can assume that Nolan just wasn't interested, but that's OK, because getting Spielberg is not exactly a weak consolation prize. The legendary director will tackle Ready Player One after he finishes up The BFG, which just began shooting on Monday (March 23) and is set for release in July 2016.

Ready Player One is set in the year 2044, a kind-of dystopian future in which people spend their time in the virtual-reality universe known as the OASIS. The protagonist, Wade Watts, sets off to solve a series of challenges and puzzles to win a challenge set forth by the now-deceased creator of the OASIS, but finds himself pursued by other players who are ready to kill if necessary to beat him to it. There are pop-culture references and images galore in the book, which should be an interesting challenge itself for the director to solve.

Spielberg’s sci-fi resume -- which includes gems like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Minority Report and War of the Worlds -- speaks for itself, so I imagine that Ernest Cline is sitting around somewhere with a huge grin on his face today. The film will be Spielberg's first for Warner Bros. since he did A.I.: Artificial Intelligence for that studio in 2001.

There's no word yet on a release date for the film, which is being written by Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Avengers), but no doubt there will be a lot of news in the months ahead. What do you think of Spielberg directing Ready Player One

Ready Player One