Variety is reporting that Leonardo DiCaprio will not only be producing (via his production company Appian Way) but is also slated to star in an upcoming film about the life and times of Atari’s founder Nolan Bushnell. In case your gaming history is a bit rusty, Bushnell is the man who created the home gaming market in America with the Atari 2600 and then subsequently destroyed it via bad business practices and lack of quality control. He also created Chuck E’ Cheese, a monster so terrible that no amount of bad management can destroy it.
The screenplay is being penned by Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman who somehow got Bushnell to sign his rights over to them despite the fact that he’s been staunchly against it for years. While DiCaprio looks nothing like Bushnell I’ve got to respect him as an actor, so hopefully the film will turn out to be really interesting. Of course I’m a massive gaming history nerd, so I think this will be the best thing since Game Over came bundled with the GameCube, but it seems to me that it might not make the most interesting film for those not so obsessed with gaming’s past. What do you think? Is the downfall of Atari interesting enough fodder for a film? No word on when the film is going to be made as Leo’s production company also has Blink and Akira to produce.
Update: MTV’s Multiplayer blog had an interview with Bushnell in which they discussed the fact the DiCaprio might be playing him. Bushnell said he is of course “”thrilled and honored” to have DiCaprio portraying him and discussed why he let the two screenwriters make the film. “There’s been a lot of books [about Atari],” he said. “Some correct, some incorrect. I’ve kind of gotten used to being portrayed by others. I kind of thought that [a movie] might happen. I kind of thought that it wouldn’t happen until maybe after I was in the ground for a little while,” he said in the interview.