Warner Bros. moves ahead on sci-fi adaptation

Warner Bros. and De Line Pictures continue to move forward with the bigscreen adaptation of Ernie Cline’s sci-fi novel “Ready Player One,” as “A Better Life” scribe Eric Eason has come aboard to rewrite the author’s script.

WB and producer Donald De Line won feature rights to the buzzed-about book in a heated bidding war back in June 2010. De Line is producing with Cline’s manager Dan Farah of Farah Films & Management, while Jesse Ehrman will oversee the project for WB.

Eason is known for his character-driven stories and while producers met with many top scribes, they ultimately felt that Eason’s perspective was best suited to tackle such a big, concept-driven film.

A nostalgic cross between “The Matrix” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” story follows an avid gamer who prefers to log into an idyllic virtual world called Oasis in order to escape his bleak life. When the creator of Oasis dies and offers his fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt, the teenage protag is forced to fend off rival players and sinister corporations who will stop at nothing — in both the real and virtual worlds — to win the grand prize.

Eason wrote and directed 2002’s award-winning “Manito,” for which he won best emerging filmmaker at the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as Brendan Fraser starrer “Journey to the End of the Night.” “A Better Life” has found itself in the awards conversation thanks to the lead performance of Demian Bichir, who was recently nominated for a SAG award. Chris Weitz’s Summit pic was also named one of last year’s top 10 indie films by the National Board of Review.

Cline is the “Fanboys” scribe who scored a mid-six-figure publishing deal from Random House for North American rights to his debut novel.

Eason is repped by Anonymous Content, Rumble Media and attorney Andrew Hurwitz.

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