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The footage for the ‘80s-themed (but future-set) action-adventure debuted during Warner Bros.’ presentation, which included DC films and Blade Runner 2049.
The footage sees star Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts, teenager and gamer on a high-stakes treasure hunt in the all-encompassing video game Oasis, designed by the nostalgic eccentric James Halliday, played by Spielberg favorite Mark Rylance.
We see the stacks of Ohio, the slum where Wade lives. Trailers are stacked one atop another, sky-high. Inside his trailer, we see Wade put on the Oasis gear, and then he’s transported into the game. There are flashes of the different environments: a futuristic dance party, Wade hanging out with the Iron Giant (“The Iron Giant is a real player in this story,” Spielberg said), Wade racing around in the DeLorean from Back to the Future as he avoids wrecking balls, and fighting Freddie Kruger. We also see the forces of evil, who sit in an office and control avatars in the game, clearly trying to find the treasure before our hero.
It was futuristic, big and ambitious — truly worthy of the book.
Stars Olivia Cooke, T.J. Miller, Ben Mendelsohn and screenwriter Zack Penn were also on hand.
Sheridan, who was a VR nut before joining the film, said that when he first heard about Ready Player One, his reaction was “Holy shit, Steven Spielberg is making a VR movie. I can’t wait to see that.”
Earlier, Spielberg emerged to pandemonium along with author Ernie Cline.
“I grew up watching this man’s movies and studying them,” said Cline.
Spielberg praised the book. “It was the most amazing flash-forward and flashback at the same time about a decade I was very involved in, the ‘80s, and a flash-forward to a future that is awaiting all of us, whether we like it or not,” said Spielberg.
Creating the virtual world took two and a half years, said Spielberg.
“I read the book and said, ‘They’re going to need a younger director,'” he noted.
He acknowledged that being a key influence of the book, he had to leave some of his own works out of the movie, otherwise he would have been accused of “vanity.”
“I had to leave a lot of myself out, or I would have had to defer to another director,” said Spielberg. “What made me want to tell the story more than anything else was the kind of world 2045 gives to people, which is so dystopian. People are leaving the country and all of a sudden virtual reality gives you a choice, gives you another world to exist in. And you can do anything in that world — anything you can possibly imagine. … That interaction between real life and virtual life, by the third act of this movie, is virtually nonexistent.”
Ready Player One hits theaters on March 30, 2018.
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