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'Ready Player One' screenplay to be rewritten by 'Incredible Hulk' scribe Zak Penn

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The screenplay for Warner Bros.' film adaptation of Ready Player One, the science fiction novel by Ernest Cline, will be rewritten by comic book movie writer Zak Penn, reports TheWrap.

Ready Player One was first published by Random House in August 2011, but Warner Bros. acquired the film rights in June 2010. The novel is set in 2044 and centers on Wade Watts, a teenager who prefers to tool around an online virtual utopia known as Oasis rather than deal with the bleak reality of his world. Oasis' deceased creator is said to have left keys within Oasis; whoever finds all three will inherit his massive fortune. And the clues in this global treasure hunt are decipherable only with a knowledge of 1980s pop culture.

Cline himself, along with A Better Life writer Eric Eason, penned the book's original film adaptation. According to TheWrap, Penn's job is to tune up the script so Warner Bros. can begin pitching it to directors later this year. Penn's credits include serving as a story writer for Marvel's The Avengers (2012) and X2: X-Men United (2003), and as the scriptwriter for the 2008 reboot of The Incredible Hulk.

Penn and Cline got to know each other while working on "Atari: Game Over," an episode in the six-part video game documentary series called Signal to Noise that is being produced by Xbox Entertainment Studios. "Atari: Game Over," which tells the story of the excavation of the fabled New Mexico burial site for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial cartridges, was written and directed by Penn. He invited Cline, a huge Atari aficionado, to serve as an "archaeologist" in the process.

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