There was a battle on the set of Ready Player One and that battle was trying to get as many Spielberg references into the movie without the director, Steven Spielberg, from noticing. Spielberg had made some hugely iconic movies but he didn’t want anything in the movie referencing those movies. It seems his crew had other ideas as detailed in Entertainment Weekly.
“We had a sly Fratelli’s Diner [from The Goonies], but we got caught,” production designer Adam Stockhausen says. “He nixed it.”
It turned into a game among the production to try and sneak in references without Spielberg noticing. They managed to sneak a gremlin in without the boss noticing.
“I think a lot of the digital artists were trying to get some of their favorite ’80s cultural references in there, you know?” Spielberg says. “And having seen every shot 30 times as we go through all the different steps from pre-viz to animatic to final, I started noticing little things. They snuck a gremlin in. … I said, ‘Well, I guess it’s too late to take that guy out.’ So he survived the cut.”
It wasn’t just about ego for Spielberg. While he knows he played a part in the culture of the 80’s he also believes that there is plenty of pop culture to put in the background of this movie.
“I didn’t corner the ’80s market,” he says. “There’s plenty to go around.”
Spielberg wanted to make sure that while all the references are fun they aren’t the center of the movie. He wants the theme of escapism being a problem but a solution to be the focus of the movie.
“Escape has its pleasurable and medicinal place, but total escape should not be a destination,” Spielberg says. “The movie isn’t really about nostalgia. Nostalgia is only the window dressing — out your side windows, but the movie takes place out your windshield. It’s a race. It’s a competition for control of the OASIS.”
What Spielberg era Easter Eggs do you want to see in Ready Player One and do you think the production team managed to sneak anymore references past Spielberg?
Summary: When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. Wade Watts finds the first clue and starts a race for the Egg.
Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Simon Pegg, T.J. Miller, Mark Rylance, and Ben Mendelsohn. It will be released on March 29th.