Less than a week before opening, Ready Player One welcomed the fanboys and fangirls of Wondercon into the world created by author Ernest Cline. The author was joined at the confab by screenwriter Zak Penn, Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Ben Mendelsohn, Philip Zhao, and Win Morisaki to talk about the film, but it was mostly a Spielbergian lovefest as they honored the legendary filmmaker whose past films flowed through the veins of this futuristic adventure.
The panel moderated by Scott Mantz started with a video which was essentially a collage of Spielberg’s greatest hits from Jaws to Jurassic Park to Minority Report. Cline and the panel waxed poetic on how much the Academy Award-winning director’s historic slate of films.
They talked about working with the director and sharing anecdotes and sharing their favorite movies by him. Sheridan prefers E.T. while Cooke has love for Temple of Doom. Waithe says she loves The Color Purple, but says Jurassic Park as her fave. Mendelsohn goes for Raiders of the Lost Ark and Zhao and Morisaki go for Adventures of Tin Tin and Catch Me If You Can respectively.
For Cline, he said — without bias — that Ready Player One was his “favorite Steven Spielberg movie ever.” He goes on to say it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the iconic director and producer. He cites mostly the adventures of downtrodden kids in films like The Goonies and E.T.
Among the stories told, Zak shared one particular story of a certain Star Wars director visiting the set.
“George Lucas showed up on set and gave Spielberg a hard time shooting on digital,” he recalled. Watching the two of them was like watching two 10-year-old friends arguing.”
For Cooke, she recalls when Minority Report star Tom Cruise paid the set the visit. She said she was embarrassed about meeting the blockbuster superstar in her mocap suit, and joked that she blacked out. She then said that she “bowed like a servant” and shook his hand upon meeting him.
But working with Spielberg and the heart-warming nostalgia of the story was best encapsulated by the film’s star, Sheridan. “He’s a child — he’s a film nerd,” he said. “That’s why there’s so much camaraderie among all characters.”
The sci-fi adventure drenched in ’80s nostalgia was adapted by Cline and Zak Penn. The story is set in 2044 and stars Sheridan as Wade Watts, who finds the first clue in a race to find the hidden Easter Egg in a massive VR game called the Oasis, created by a now-deceased genius. Whoever finds the Egg will inherit the creator’s $240 billion fortune.
The movie also stars T. J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance.
Ready Player One is produced by Steven Spielberg, Donald De Line, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Dan Farah; Executive Producers are Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris DeFaria and Bruce Berman.
Ready Player One is set for release on March 29, 2018.