BuzzFeed is moving into filmmaking, and its debut feature will be about videogames. Ellen Page will star in 1UP, a comedy about esports and GamerGate.
The news comes via The Hollywood Reporter, where it’s revealed the movie is to be the first production from BuzzFeed Studios. Kyle Newman, who made Fanboys, will direct, with a script from Julia York, generally a TV writer, with credits in The Adventures of Puss in Boots and Skylanders Academy. According to the report, the flick will be “in the vein of Pitch Perfect, but set in the world of esports with a GamerGate backdrop”.
The premise involves a college student, Vivian Lee, played by Paris Berelc, leaving the college esports team due to sexism, but then having to form her own team in order to retain her scholarship. Luckily, Ellen Page’s former gaming professional, a previous victim of GamerGate, is around to assist Lee and coach the all-female group to victory against the male-dominated Varsity league. There’s positives and negatives here – Pitch Perfect is a good touchstone for a female-centric comedy about Varsity competition, and Ellen Page is generally great, but movies about videogames are far more miss than hit, and esports and GamerGate together makes difficult subject matter.
Page has previous experience in games, having been one of the stars in Quantic Dreams’ Beyond: Two Souls. This isn’t the first time these topics have made their way to TV or film, in 2015 Law and Order: Special Victims Unit did an episode about the harassment and abuse many women suffered as a result of GamerGate. It was a bit of a mixed bag. Nonetheless, mainstreaming of these issues should at least get people looking into them more, we’ve no shortage of examples to draw from.
Filming is due to begin this November. Here’s the final word from Ice-T on bigotry within the gaming industry.