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Steven Spielberg will direct the Ready Player One movie

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Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

The long-gestating Ready Player One movie has a director, and it's one perfectly suited to a story full of 1980s references: Steven Spielberg. Deadline reports that he'll take on the film after the Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG.

Written by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One takes place in a dystopian future where everyone jacks into an artificial VR world known as OASIS. After its creator dies, people discover that an elaborate easter egg has been left somewhere inside OASIS, and whoever finds the prize first inherits the creator's entire estate. Central to the search for the easter egg are a litany of pop culture references, many focused around the 1980s. A number of Spielberg films, and the filmmaker himself, are all referenced in the book, opening up the opportunity for a self-referential film that seems right in line with the source material.

Zak Penn (X-Men 2, The Incredible Hulkwrote the most recent draft for Warner Bros., which will be distributing the film. Given the recent proliferation of VR and augmented reality devices, the timing couldn't be more perfect for Ready Player One, and while it's the sort of story that could go horribly awry in the wrong person's hands, Spielberg's involvement ensures that the film will have a very steady, pedigreed hand at the helm. Taking the meta-opportunities even further, Spielberg also had some experience with alternate reality game tie-ins on A.I. with "The Beast" — and if there's any property out there begging for a proper ARG treatment or VR experience, it's Ready Player One.

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