Image credit: Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times
Zoe Quinn - game developer, anti-harassment activist, and through no fault of her own, the original (and continued) target of the GamerGate hate group - is writing a memoir, entitled Crash Override: How To Save The Internet From Itself, and the movie rights have just been won by Pascal Pictures, headed up by former Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal. The deal came at the end of a bidding war, and Scarlett Johansson is supposedly interested in playing Quinn herself.
Though the book is further-reaching, the movie will tell the story of how a vindictive ex's viral blog post turned Quinn's life upside down. It will follow the harassment of GamerGate, and more importantly, Quinn's decision to fight back, forming the anti-harassment task force Crash Override Network and speaking before the global media, Congress, and the UN. What will be intriguing is how the movie will end - this stuff is still ongoing (still!), and hopefully an ending will come to pass before the movie happens.
There hasn't really been a good movie made about online harassment or online/gamer culture, and it'll be an important step in educating the public about how online culture actually works. It's not a separate world from the "real" one anymore. Quinn's proposal sums up the culture struggle around which the story revolves:
Gaming and internet message boards used to be niche interests, mostly for young men. In the past few years, however, they’ve gone mainstream. Millions of people — including women and other marginalized people — have taken an interest in the platforms, image boards, and discussion forums that once belonged by default to a much smaller population. Most gamers give zero fu*ks about this. Like the rest of us, they’re just here to play games. But a vocal minority are clinging onto the brand of Cheetos-and-Mountain-Dew exclusionary identity “hardcore gamer”, muttering ”fu*kin casuals” under their breath.
The big question is how the story will be adapted. Online harassment doesn't lend itself particularly towards visual treatment (despite Hideo Nakata's Chatroom having some interesting, if out-there, ideas). Perhaps the drama could lean more towards the activism side of the story, the personal side for Quinn, or the difficulty of getting authorities to acknowledge the problem. Producer Amy Pascal oversaw production (from a studio POV, admittedly) on the similarly tech-focused The Social Network, and if the writers (former WSJ reporters Rebecca Angelo and Lauren Schuker Blum) and director (as yet unassigned) can dramatise Quinn's story in a similarly effective way, this could turn out okay.
On a personal note - and this can serve as a disclaimer, if you're into that - this marks the second film to go into development that will feature actors playing friends of mine (the other being The Disaster Artist), and the first to talk about events in which I was (tangentially) involved. It's also satisfying in that it will represent a significant nail in GamerGate's coffin. They spent so long emulating supervillains, it's hardly a surprise that a movie will be made where they actually are the bad guys.
Crash Override: How To Save The Internet From Itself (the book) is due for release September 2016, with the movie undated at this point.