Ready Player One was always meant to be a movie. With a plot that centers on millenial nostalgia for early ’90s video games, movies, and television shows, and a thoroughly likable group of characters, Ready Player One has been on many science-fiction fans’ most anticipated movie list since the movie rights were optioned. And on Friday, screenwriter Zak Penn posted on Twitter that production on the Steven Spielberg-led film adaptation had finally begun.
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Following the epic (and epically not great) Hobbit trilogy, we all kind of assumed that Peter Jackson would take a little break from filmmaking. A blockbuster trilogy is exhausting and the guy has clearly earned a good nap or two. In news that may come as a bit of a surprise, it looks like the filmmaker is not only planning a new project, but he’s already begun working on it in secret — well, not so secret anymore, as Steven Spielberg has spilled the beans.
The BFG — or “Big Friendly Giant” — spends his days in Giant Country, collecting dreams from a magical tree and distributing them to the people of the world. He seems like just the sort of character who would appeal to Steven Spielberg, a big friendly giant of the film world whose work has stimulated the imaginations of millions of moviegoers. But Spielberg doesn’t fully communicate that appeal with his film version of The BFG, which contains a fair amount of lovely images but may be the director’s most listless and dramatically inert movie in decades.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Disney has repeatedly assured fans that they have no (current) plans to reboot Indiana Jones or replace Harrison Ford in the iconic role anytime soon — well, at least not in Indiana Jones 5, which re-teams Ford with series director Steven Spielberg for one more outing. According to Disney chief Bob Iger, however, the forthcoming sequel won’t be the last of the Indy franchise, and it definitely sounds like they do have plans to reboot the series — to some extent — after all.
Steven Spielberg has a long history with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and her husband, producer Frank Marshall. It’s a relationship that dates way back to the formation of Amblin, and continues today as the three friends have helped each other on various projects, including Jurassic World and the upcoming Indiana Jones 5. It was Kennedy who found Colin Trevorrow for the Jurassic Park sequel, having recently worked with another young up-and-coming director on a potential Star Wars anthology project. That director was Josh Trank, and if you mention that name to Spielberg, he’ll do a great Mean Girls impression.
Steven Spielberg has only gotten busier in recent years; the prolific director has been adding a fair amount of projects to his growing to-do list, including Indiana Jones 5, set to hit theaters in 2019. Harrison Ford will return to reprise his iconic role as the archaeological adventurer despite repeatedly denied rumors that Disney is looking to pass the torch to a new star. If you had any remaining doubts, Spielberg himself assures fans that Ford isn’t going anywhere — at least not in his Indy universe.
In recent years, Steven Spielberg has oscillated between two kinds of movies. He makes big broad adventure and fantasy films in the style of the classic blockbusters that built his reputation (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Adventures of Tintin, The BFG) and more serious historical films about people shaping crucial world events (Munich, Lincoln, Bridge of Spies). With Ready Player One and Indiana Jones 5 already on the horizon, Spielberg will need some more historical material to maintain that balance.
Not that Lucasfilm would get anyone else to score new Star Wars and Indiana Jones sequels as long as John Williams is still around, but just in case there was any doubt, Steven Spielberg has officially confirmed the legendary composer’s return for both franchises. The director’s announcement appropriately took place during last night’s AFI tribute to Williams, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to cinema.
Sorry, Tom Hanks — Steven Spielberg has a new favorite now, and his name is Mark Rylance. After delivering an Oscar-winning performance in Bridge of Spies, the actor re-teamed with Spielberg for The BFG, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel. A new featurette puts the focus on Rylance and his role as the eponymous Big Friendly Giant, who forms a bond with a special little girl and takes her deep into the heart of Giant Country to see where dreams are made.
T.J. Miller has such an incredible natural comedic gift that his mere presence alone almost guarantees that you’re going to laugh in less than 10 seconds. And now he’s bringing that talent to Ready Player One, the upcoming adaptation of Ernest Cline’s nostalgia-heavy sci-fi novel. But don’t think Miller’s going all serious on us now that he’s starring in a Steven Spielberg movie.