Embattled former Sony chairperson Amy Pascal is producing a movie about Gamergate, one that might star Scarlett Johansson as developer Zoe Quinn. Deadline is reporting the movie will be based on Quinn’s upcoming memoir Crash Override: How to Save the Internet From Itself. (It’s on track to be published next year.) The movie will follow Quinn after a blog post by an ex-boyfriend led to months of abuse and harassment, behavior that ultimately exploded into the nebulous movement known as Gamergate. Quinn confirmed the memoir and movie’s legitimacy on Twitter by linking out to Deadline’s report. TheWrap’s Jeff Sneider is reporting that Johansson is one of several actresses interested in portraying Quinn.
Before Gamergate erupted into the confusing collective it remains today, Quinn was best known for making indie games like Depression Quest that were critically acclaimed and relatively simple. Crash Override cribs its title from the online harassment support group Quinn started with Alex Lifschitz in January as a means of pushing back against the abuse directed at her and other female figures in gaming. If you’ve followed Gamergate since its eruption last year, the fact that it’s being turned into a major motion picture with an established star is probably befuddling. People on the internet (including its constituent members) still can’t agree on what exactly Gamergate is — A campaign for ethics in gaming journalism? A misogynist harassment campaign? A borderline terrorist organization? The thought of jamming all of that complexity into a two-hour feature film is intimidating, to say the least.
“Gaming and internet message boards used to be niche interests, mostly for young men. In the past few years, however, they’ve gone mainstream,” wrote Quinn in her proposal. “Millions of people have taken an interest in the platforms, image boards, and discussion forums that once belonged by default to a much smaller population… 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.”