1Up Video Game Movie

Ellen Page has gotten pregnant in high school, pulled off a heist in someone’s dreams, walked through walls, and roughed some people up in roller derby. Now she’s heading into uncharted territory on the big screen: the world of professional video gaming.

BuzzFeed is getting into the movie business with 1UP, an underdog eSports comedy that finds Ellen Page coaching a college a team of misfit women gamers who team up to take down a team of chauvinist asshole players on campus. It’s one of the most millennial movies we’ve heard of so far.

The Hollywood Reporter has word on the 1UP video game movie that will be the first feature film from the newly founded BuzzFeed Studios. The company is aiming to “develop and produce what it sees are socially relevant and high-concept feature films for global millennial and Gen Z audiences.” OMG. An eSports movie certainly falls into that area, and honestly, the premise doesn’t sound terrible.

Described as being akin to Pitch Perfect, the story follows female gamer Vivian Lee (played by Paris Berelc of Hubie Halloween) as she quits her college eSports team rather than put up with sexism from her male counterparts. But apparently she has a scholarship in professional video gaming that gets put on the line, so she tries to round up an all-women’s team of unskilled misfit gamers who she can hopefully whip into shape to take on the assholes she used to play with. And just like any regular sports movie, there’s an enigmatic coach who returns to the spotlight after she was hit with a GamerGate kind of scandal, and that’s who Ellen Page, who has actually appeared in a video game herself, will be playing.

As gimmicky as this sounds on paper, I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of eSports getting the feature film spotlight like this. Video game tournaments air on sports networks all the time now, and professional video gaming has become a legitimate job that earns people millions of dollars each year. It’s equally as hard to be a pro gamer as it is to break into professional sports, even if it isn’t anywhere near as physically challenging. Taking a familiar sports movie formula and applying it to video games sounds like it could work well as long as the movie can make watching people play videos games a thrilling prospect. Plus, I like the idea of women being given the spotlight in a male-dominated, notoriously sexist arena.

Directing 1UP will be Kyle Newman, best known for helming the Star Wars-centric comedy Fanboys and the action comedy Barely Lethal starring Hailee Steinfeld, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Alba, and more. Meanwhile, the script comes from first time feature writer Julia Yorks. Richard Alan Reid is producing for BuzzFeed along with Michael Philip and Jason Moring.

Hopefully the filmmakers have figured out how to tap into professional video gaming and make it exciting to watch without feeling like we’re watching a Twitch stream. Furthermore, I hope the crew assembled for the movie knows how to accurately depict video games, something that has been done terribly over and over again whenever they play a minor part in a story. Will they use a real game that already exists, or will they make one up from scratch just for the movie?

1UP is expected to shoot in Toronto sometime next year, but there’s no release date yet.

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