One of the best aspects of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is its unabashed affection for the past. Reading the book feels like a freefall into the 1980s, with each page packed to the brim with nostalgia. With that said, any film adaptation of Ready Player One would need access to this wealth of pop-culture if it was going to do the book any justice. Well, what’s easy for a book is not so easy when it comes to a major studio film. Seriously, how does one cut through all the bureaucratic tape to get this to the screen? Furthermore, imagine being tasked with writing the script! Where do you start? What can you use?
Cinemablend, at a recent press day, asked Ready Player One script writer Zak Penn about the arduous task of sifting through all of the pop-culture references that he could, and couldn’t use for the adaptation, as well as how to get the rights to various pieces of intellectual property. It turns out the secret weapon turned out to be the film’s legendary director Steven Spielberg. This was his response:
“The first draft I wrote I had no idea. Once Steven came on, which was after they sent him my script and he signed on pretty quickly. So once Steven came on it was like ‘Steven Spielberg’s on it now.’ There was a team of people working on it and producers and people at the studio, but you knew if it could be gotten Steven would get it. So, there are a couple of things that he couldn’t get because they were in lawsuits or something. Like Ultraman, there was some sort of lawsuit going on. Short of that, anything he wanted.”
It’s safe to say that this movie could not have been made without the help of Steven Spielberg, or at least it would have been difficult. Not only because the book involves a number of the man’s works, but also because an icon like Steven Spielberg has just the kind of ‘pull’ to gain access to various properties that the film needs. Luckily, that seems to have worked out for Ready Player One, as the film is being received quite well critically, with many calling it one of Spielberg’s most creative films in a while. Read our reviews here, here and here.
Ready Player One is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.
Ready Player One is set for release on March 30th, 2018 and sees Steven Spielberg (The BFG) directing a cast that includes Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse) as Parzival, Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Art3mis, Simon Pegg (Star Trek Beyond) as Ogden Morrow, Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Nolan Sorrento, T.J. Miller (Deadpool) as i-R0k, Hannah John-Kamen (Game of Thrones) as F’Nale Zandor, Win Morisaki as Diato, newcomer Philip Zhao as Shoto and Mark Rylance (The BFG) as James Halliday.