Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One has been slated as his next project with a release date of December 2017, and already there’s a rumor making waves of who is going to play one of the major roles. Given the nostalgic themes of the book, it’s only fitting that the person in question is someone who has a special, nostalgic place in the hearts of an entire generation: Willy Wonka himself, Gene Wilder.
According to a rumor posted at Aint It Cool, their sources are telling them that Gene Wilder is being courted by Spielberg for an unknown role in one of his upcoming films. While Spielberg is producing The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), a movie based on a book by Charlie and the Chocalate Factory author Roald Dahl, it’s more likely that he’s being considered to play James Halliday in Ready Player One.
In the novel, Halliday was the creator of OASIS, a massive online simulation used by billions of people in the dystopian future of the year 2044. When Halliday died, he left behind a hidden easter egg in his game, the OASIS, which would give the winner his multibillion dollar fortune, leaving millions of people dreaming of being the one who finds the “Golden Ticket” of this eccentric billionaire. So, of course, it makes sense that Spielberg would want the man who played Wonka in this role, given the similarities.
At age 82, Gene Wilder has been in retirement from acting for nearly two decades now, and has said that there are very few directors who could convince him to go in front of the camera again. He’s said that Mel Brooks, his director in Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles would be one of them…could the other be Steven Spielberg?
Ready Player One has a release date of December 15th, 2017, so Mr. Spielberg is probably knee deep in untangling the rights to the nearly 100 different pop culture properties mentioned in the novel as we speak. If anyone out there can make that happen–not to mention get Gene Wilder out of retirement–it’s Steven Spielberg.