'Ready Player One' Writer Ernie Cline Sets Up 'Armada' at Universal
Screenwriter Ernie Cline made a name for himself by writing Kyle Newman's Star Wars-inspired movie Fanboys, and back in 2010 Cline wrote a novel called Ready Player One that sparked a bidding war between the studios for a film adaptation. Warner Bros. ended up winning and we still haven't seen that film come to fruition yet, but now Variety reports Cline has a 20 page proposal for a new book called Armada sold to Crown Publishing, and the people at Universal have just paid seven figures to acquire the movie rights to the story. Like Ready Player One, this one also sounds like it's going to be tied into the world of video games.
Scott Stuber (Ted, 47 Ronin) and Dan Farah (Armored) are attached to produce, but plot details are being kept under lock and key at this point. Variety says the story has a "high-concept hook that offers the ultimate wish fulfillment to every video game fan on the planet." That could mean just about anything considering how vast the playing field of video games has become, but if Universal liked the concept enough to pay at least a million dollars for it from a 20 page proposal, they must see some real value in it.
It's tough to gauge how a movie like this will turn out when we know next to nothing about it, but Wreck-It Ralph proved earlier this year that the best way to adapt video games into movies might not be to directly port over a story from a game and turn it into a screenplay like most terrible adaptations have done over the past couple of decades. Films that include elements of video games, like Tron: Legacy (or even the original Tron), seem to fare a lot better when it comes to telling a cohesive story and generating characters audiences care about. If Armada becomes as hot as Ready Player One, it seems like Cline could become a powerful voice in gaming and movie culture in the years to come. Thoughts?
UPDATE: THR has learned that Armada centers on a group of MMO players who play a game titled Armada and they're recruited by a government agency to use their unique skills, honed by playing the video game, to fight a larger threat. Sounds like it could be pretty cool.