Ready Player One set props moving around Digbeth. Image: Birmingham Mail.

Ready Player One set props moving around Digbeth. Image: Birmingham Mail.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last couple of months, you will know by now that the great Steven Spielberg has been filming in Digbeth. I know – move over Hollywood!

I was made aware of this before the press got their hands all over the story, but couldn’t reporting anything due to an embargo. It has been difficult keeping schtum! In anticipation of the filming, we enlisted the help of roving reporters Boogie Dave (from Suki10c) and Phil at Birmingham FOE to give us updates from the scenes, but security was so tight around the set that even their exemplary snooping skills were not enough.

So here’s the low down:
The film, Ready Player One, is based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 best-selling novel of the same name. Set in a dystopian near future in 2044, where people live in bleak homes stacked on top of each other, to escape their grim reality people enter a globally-networked virtual reality world called The Oasis.

When the eccentric billionaire who created The Oasis dies, he offers up his vast fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt within the game (an Easter Egg in gamer speak). Ready Player One follows outcast teenager Wade Watts, who along with gamers from around the world, joins the chase but quickly finds himself pitted against powerful corporate foes and other ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the real or virtual worlds, to reach the treasure first.

Although it hasn’t been made clear whether Digbeth is the real world or The Oasis, I think we all know which one it is likely to be! The film is set to star Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn and Hannah John-Kamen, and will be released in March 2018.

A photo posted by Essareudoubleeff (@sruff) on

As well as filming in Digbeth (centred on Bordesley Street and Floodgate Street), Spielberg was also spotted filming in the Jewellery Quarter. Kris Askey has taken some amazing pictures of the JQ here.

Pamela Pinski

Digbeth and Proud

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