Scarlett Johansson could be about to take on her most controversial role yet—and one that will undoubtedly enrage parts of the gaming world.
Last summer, when feminist game developer Zoe Quinn‘s ex-boyfriend wrote a tell-all exposé about their relationship, the response from the community coalesced into a season of anger, harassment, cries of “ethics in journalism,” and death threats that became known around the world as Gamergate.
Now, as the controversy continues to pulse online and off, Hollywood is moving to turn Quinn’s story into big-screen drama. Former Sony executive Amy Pascal has won film rights in a hotly contested bidding war for Quinn’s not-yet-published memoir about her experience at the center of the maelstrom, Crash Override: How to Save the Internet From Itself. Deadline reports that Johansson is one of a group of A-list actresses who are eying the lead role as Quinn.
The working title for Quinn’s project proposal is called Ctrl Alt Delete. According to Deadline, “It is a very inside look at gaming and nerd culture and what happens when one gets caught in the gears of that machine.” Quinn, who has remained deeply entrenched in the anti-Gamergate callout movement, described the Gamergate phenomenon last year in an article republished by the Daily Dot as “Nerd McCarthyism against perceived outsiders using the vague excuse of ‘ethics in games journalism,’… fueled by hatred and fundamental misunderstandings of the industry of which they were claiming to be the One True Vanguard.”
The memoir’s title, Crash Override, is also the name of a website that Quinn and other Gamergate victims launched last year. The goal of the Crash Override network is to provide support to similar victims of online harassment like hate speech, death threats, doxing, and ‘swatting.’ As the inadvertent catalyst for the Gamergate movement, Quinn has been subject to all of these attacks and more, along with other notable feminist voices in the gaming community like Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu.
On Twitter, Quinn spent the day celebrating the film announcement and discussing the importance of this move:
tfw you're waiting on a thing so you can make the biggest announcements of your career to date (and go back to bed) pic.twitter.com/DI19CkwCST— zoë “tragic sans” quinn (@UnburntWitch) November 6, 2015
This is what I've been silently working on for months. Thank you and goodnight.— zoë “tragic sans” quinn (@UnburntWitch) November 6, 2015
I am mostly hoping to do the subject matter justice and reduce the number of times people hear "it's just the internet get offline"— zoë “tragic sans” quinn (@UnburntWitch) November 6, 2015
reminder:— zoë “tragic sans” quinn (@UnburntWitch) November 6, 2015
my victories are not GG's failures
my victories weren't handed to me by my abusers
my victories are *mine*, thanks
On the notorious message board 8chan, anonymous gamers who identify with the Gamergate movement were none too happy about the news—especially those who feel Quinn has become untouchable, impossible to be criticized legitimately thanks to the Gamergate backlash. This quote from one anonymous 8chan-er sums up the anxiety over Quinn, and Gamergate’s sentiment that it’s being threatened in all corners by the invasion of liberal propaganda:
It fucking hurts to see people ignore the truth. Things haven’t been getting better at all. Free speech only truly exists on 8chan. Say anything out of the ordinary anywhere else and you’ll get b& from every web site including cuckchan [4chan]. anita and zoe went to the fucking UN to try to get videos criticizing them censored. The TPP is revealing its ugly head around the corner day by day. I live in canada and the fucking king of tumbler just got elected. I look over seas and Europe is turning into an Islamic state.
I want to run but there’s nowhere to hide from this shit and it irks me to no end.
Pascal’s production company will be giving a first look at the film to Sony. Screenwriters Rebecca Angelo and Lauren Schuker Blum will adapt the memoir for the screen.