Gamergate Movie in the Works With Scarlett Johansson Eyed to Star
Unless you’ve been living under a blissfully isolated internet-rock, then you’re at least passingly familiar with Gamergate, the misogyny scandal that began last year and continues to be a huge issue (SXSW recently canceled — and uncanceled — two GG-related events). We’ve been wondering just how long it would take for someone to make a movie based on the controversy, and the wait appears to be over.
Deadline reports that former Sony exec Amy Pascal and her Pascal Pictures banner have procured the rights to Crash Override: How to Save the Internet From Itself, the upcoming memoir by game designer Zoe Quinn, set to be published in 2016. The film proposal was titled Control Alt Delete, and has attracted the interest of several actresses, with Scarlett Johansson reportedly at the top of the list.
Quinn rose to prominence in 2014 after she released her critically acclaimed interactive game Depression Quest, which allowed players to “live” as someone with depression. Not long after, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend published a massive blog post accusing her of having an affair with a gaming journalist to garner positive reviews for her work. Quinn soon came under attack from men in the gaming community, and the issue snowballed as people began disparaging and harassing video game critic Anita Sarkeesian and game developer Brianna Wu.
The members of the Gamergate community posture themselves as fighters for integrity in gaming journalism, but all of these women have received threats of physical harm and sexual assault and have been harassed for over a year now by irate gamers — primarily men. Gamergate is essentially a sexist and juvenile movement that wishes to push women out of the gaming community and insulate themselves from critiques about the sexist content in the games they play.
Quinn, Sarkeesian and Wu have refused to bow down to their harassers, and Quinn’s memoir further highlights her enduring courage in the face of overt, pervasive sexism. The author herself has described the content and purpose of the book and film project as follows:
Gaming and internet message boards used to be niche interests, mostly for young men. In the past few years, however, they’ve gone mainstream. Millions of people — including women and other marginalized people — have taken an interest in the platforms, image boards, and discussion forums that once belonged by default to a much smaller population. Most gamers give zero fu*ks about this. Like the rest of us, they’re just here to play games. But a vocal minority are clinging onto the brand of Cheetos-and-Mountain-Dew exclusionary identity ‘hardcore gamer,’ muttering ‘fu*kin casuals’ under their breath.
It’s a very timely and relevant project, as sexism continues to permeate all aspects of pop culture, in particular those “niche” interests Quinn mentions above. With female-centric films gaining popularity and topics like Gamergate, online harassment / bullying, and gender disparities in Hollywood at the forefront of pop culture conversations, now is the time for Quinn’s story to hit the big screen.