Director Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Interstellar, was released last month; and while the response for the sci-fi drama was more divisive than his previous works, it was still seen by many as a worthwhile cinematic experience full of big ideas and awe-inspiring visuals (read our review). It has also grossed $544.9 million worldwide so far, illustrating that even second-tier Nolan can bring in an audience.
As such, Warner Bros. – a studio that has made a pretty penny from their partnership with Nolan to date – definitely sees the filmmaker as a hot commodity worth investing in. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the studio is looking to keep the fan-favorite auteur in-house; potentially, by having him direct another interesting-sounding genre picture for them, if a new report is to be believed.
The Tracking Board is reporting that Nolan has been offered the directing gig for the film adaptation of the novel Ready Player One by author Ernest Cline. The book follows a teenage boy who takes part in an extravagant treasure hunt against powerful corporations, in order to win the fortune from the will of the virtual reality game OASIS. It became a New York Times bestseller after its publication and has been well-received by many literary pundits.
WB acquired the film rights during a bidding war in 2010, but little progress has been made on Ready Player One‘s development since that time; other than hiring scribe Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk) to rewrite earlier drafts of the screenplay by Cline and Eric Eason. Nolan, if he signs on, may well revise the script, since he generally has a hand in writing the films he directs (with the exception of Insomnia).
The aforementioned treasure hunt that would serve as the film’s core plot takes place within the OASIS game environment, where players search for three different keys. After bringing people’s dreams to life in Inception, one can see how Nolan’s directorial style would jive with its overall concept. He has always had an eye for stunning visuals and should be able to create some fascinating worlds to give the movie his usual panache.
While playing in the sci-fi sandbox would be something familiar for Nolan, it’s the tone of Ready Player One that would serve as a departure of sorts. Elements such as the exhaustion of Earth’s fossil fuels and the motives of powerful corporations would be ripe for serious social commentary, but things probably wouldn’t be as grim as Nolan’s other films. Phrases like “ridiculously fun” and “large-hearted” have been used to describe the narrative – so at first blush, it’ll be lighter than what moviegoers are used to seeing from Nolan.
There are bits of comedic relief scattered throughout The Dark Knight, Inception, and Interstellar, but one of the criticisms of Nolan’s filmography is that he does take himself a little too seriously when crafting his films. Perhaps a fun treasure hunt adventure would be just the change-of-pace he needs to give his career a second wind and allow audiences to see him in a new perspective. Like all things Nolan, it would have everyone’s attention, if nothing else.
We’ll keep you updated on Ready Player One as more information becomes available.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.