Ernest Cline got to live out his fanboy dreams with novel Ready Player One, but how much is the author and screenwriter worth? Ready Player One is set in a dystopian future where people escape their dreary lives by traveling to the OASIS, a virtual reality world created by James Halliday. In the OASIS users can be whatever they choose and they encounter any number of pop culture characters. The thrust of the story involves protagonist Wade Watts – AKA Parzival – going on an adventure as he tries to uncover a Golden Easter egg left behind by Halliday that will grant the winner ownership of the OASIS.
Ready Player One was later adapted into a movie by Steven Spielberg, with Tye Sheridan playing Wade. The movie proved to be a hit, but like the book before it, it proved somewhat divisive. Some consider both the book and the movie to be loving odes to pop culture favorites like Back To The Future or Blade Runner, but others find them to be exercises in wallowing in nostalgia and somewhat hollow. While both arguments have merit, Spielberg’s film is invested with plenty of heart too, and he pulls off some great sequences, including an extended homage to The Shining around the midway point.
Ready Player One was published in 2011 and made Ernest Cline an instant geek icon. It was clear from the book he was a rabid fan of all the movies, television and video games he was referencing, and he would later co-write the screenplay for Spielberg’s adaptation alongside Zak Penn. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Ernest Cline is currently estimated to be worth $1 million.
Ready Player One wasn’t Ernest Cline’s first brush with filmmaking, however. He previously co-wrote the 2009 comedy Fanboys, which involved a group of friends who take a cross country trip to break into Skywalker Ranch so their dying pal can see Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace before he passes. Fanboys was co-written with Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs) but after suffering through a troubled production and release, it proved a disappointing experience to Cline.
The Ready Player One movie obviously went much better, and a film version of his 2015 follow-up novel Armada is currently in development too. He’s also developing a sequel novel to Ready Player One that will feature creative input from Steven Spielberg, though the exact nature of the story or when it will be published is currently unknown.
Next: Ernest Cline Interview: Ready Player One