Simon Pegg joins Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ as the Great and Powerful Og
There is no project in development right now that is more avidly followed in my own household than Ready Player One. Toshi, my ten-year-old, read the book last year and since then, he’s been utterly obsessed with the notion that is going to be a movie, especially with Steven Spielberg set to direct.
’80s pop culture in general drives Toshi crazy, and I’m fascinated by his love of it. While I understand what drove Ernie Cline to write the book, I am more confused by a ten year old, born in 2005, who experiences nostalgia for an era that ended fifteen years before he was born. My conversations with people who are working on the film say that it was important to Spielberg that he get legal clearances on all of the ’80s stuff before he signed his deal to make the film. This is going to a pop culture collision on the order of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but with an even broader reach.
Maybe there’s just something irresistible about the basic structure. Set in the year, 2044, the book details a sort of treasure hunt following the death of James Halliday, creator of a massive virtual reality playground called the OASIS. So far, Spielberg hasn’t cast Halliday, but he’s been filling key roles. Ty Sheridan is Wade Watts, the main character, while Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn have also been cast. Today, Spielberg adds a pretty terrific name to his cast and in a very important role, and I can’t wait to call Toshi and tell him so I can hear his reaction.
Much of what we learn about Halliday in the film is through Morrow, who was the public face of the OASIS. He’s a wealthy man in an age where no one is wealthy, and “Og” is a beloved media figure because of the way he behaves. Think Albert Einstein and Santa Claus as the same person. He’s a pretty important piece of the puzzle, and Pegg seems like a perfect fit. Toshi’s already a pretty huge Pegg fan because of his ongoing work in the Mission: Impossible and Star Trek franchises, and this is going to make that even worse. Pegg’s become the de facto face of fandom, a living Mary Sue who went from making a wry commentary on pop culture in Spaced to playing a key role in the pop culture with the latest Star Wars film. He’s canny casting on Spielberg’s part for that reason, but they’ve also worked together before in The Adventures of Tintin, one of Spielberg’s most underrated recent movies. Pegg’s always talked about that experience in glowing terms, and it seems like Spielberg must have had a good time as well.
The film recently had its release date pushed back, but it’s set to start principal photography in June. I’m as curious about this as I have been about anything Spielberg’s made in recent memory, and the idea that he’s going straight from Ready Player One into Indiana Jones 5 means we’re heading into a pretty nerdy stretch of Spielberg all at once.
Ready Player One arrives in theaters March 30, 2018.
Simon Pegg has been cast in the key role of Ogden Morrow in Steven Spielberg's bigscreen version of 'Ready Player One,' and it's a pretty nice fit between actor and material.
A river of words flowed between us.
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Date of Birth
Date of Death
CEO of Halycedonia Interactive
OASIS Avatar Name
The character may possibly be a homage to (and he bears a strong resemblance to) a person active (named “Og”) in North American Fandom and LARPing (particularly a North American Larp known as “Pennsic War.”)
He could also be a parody of Steve Wozniak, the original designer, engineer, and founder of Apple Computers along with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne. His backstory somewhat parallels that of Steve Wozniak and his eventual relationship with Steve Jobs. It goes so far as the story of how Steve Jobs, the so-called “mastermind” behind Apple’s Success, unfortunately died of Pancreatic Cancer in 2011, sort of is the inspiration for James Halliday’s death in 2039. Surprisingly Jobs’ death, which was on October 5th, was less than 2 months after the book came out, so there is a chance that he read it, though unlikely.
In the film, Ogden appears mainly in the Halliday’s Journals archive recordings of his time with Halliday. Several of Ogden and Halliday’s moments together provide vital clues to Halliday’s Easter Egg Hunt. Ogden, going by Og, appears in person only at the end of the movie when he arrives after Wade wins the Golden Egg, bringing with him lawyers from Gregarious Games to officially turn over control of the OASIS to the High Five. He subsequently is hired on as a consultant with a fee of only twenty-five cents at his own insistence and aids the High Five in changing the OASIS for the better.
In the movie, Og’s avatar is The Curator, the robotic ‘Jeeves-like’ curator of the Halliday Journals archive. He is at first often exasperated with Wade’s visitations as Parzival, feeling that they only waste his time until Wade wins the first challenge. When Parzival returns looking for clues on the second challenge, he makes a bet with The Curator that Karen Underwood only appears once in the archives, a bet which he wins. In return, The Curator gives Parzival a quarter that later proves to be an extra life that saves Parzival during the final battle and allows him to win the challenge. The Curator also sends the High Five into the second challenge once they realize it was at the archives the whole time. At the end of the movie, Og reveals his identity as The Curator to Wade, but admits that he didn’t know the details of Halliday’s challenges and thus did not break the rules by aiding Parzival when he won the bet.
Ogden "Og" Morrow is the Co-creator of the OASIS and was the best friend of James Halliday. He is among the few in the world who is rich and can afford luxuries that most people cannot. His appearance and personality are described as being "a cross between Albert Einstein and Santa Claus…