Steven Spielberg, creator of ET and Close Encounters, doesn’t need much help when it comes to all-time geek bonafides. But the legendary director is getting some contemporary help with the addition of Simon Pegg to his film adaptation of Ready Player One, Ernest Cline’s reference-heavy sci-fi novel. Pegg, beloved among nerds for Spaced and The Cornetto Trilogy, will play Orgen Morrow, a creators of the story’s virtual universe.
The novel calls Simon Pegg’s character “a cross between Albert Einstein and Santa Claus”, and it will be interesting to see Pegg play a character beyond his wheelhouse. Pegg also appeals to a very specific brand of nerd; when Ready Player One was published, critics called it “unabashedly geeky.” The film would do well to to court those geeky, niche moviegoers, who tend to follow Pegg wherever he goes.
Ernest Cline, in addition to writing Ready Player One, penned the screenplay for Fanboys, a road trip film featuring quite a few voices important to most nerds: Kevin Smith, William Shatner, Carrie Fisher and Billie Dee Williams. Recruiting more specific names, which Cline has proven he can do, will improve Spielberg’s chances of adapting a novel which many have called “un-film-able”.
Luckily, he has Pegg on his side: The actor’s geeky credentials also include playing Montgomery Scott in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films and co-writing Star Trek 3, consulting on the Star Wars films and voicing Reepicheep in the mid-2000s Narnia films.