That Big Horror Movie Tribute In ‘Ready Player One’ Almost Went To Another Movie

Senior Pop Culture Editor
03.30.18

WARNER BROS.

[Spoilers for Ready Player One and anyone who forgot about the 1980s]

You can count on at least one great set piece in almost every Steven Spielberg movie. Ready Player One, despite not being the director’s finest work, has two: an early car chase involving King Kong, Rexy from Jurassic Park, and a DeLorean; and a quest that takes place within the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. There’s the blood-filled elevator (as long as we’re doing references: “Usually the blood gets off at the second floor”), the creepy girls, the Room 237. It’s also a scene that doesn’t happen in Ernest Cline’s book the film is based on.

“In the book, it’s more like a karaoke thing that you do, and Ernie’s a big fan of [the action satire] Last Action Hero,” screenwriter Zak Penn told Cinema Blend. “One of the big changes was you walk through and have to repeat the lines from the movie, I said, ‘No, let’s do Last Action Hero. Let’s throw you into the movie!’ Wouldn’t it be better, no matter what movie it is, if there was an adventure in the movie?” Instead of Parzival acting out WarGames from memory, like in the novel, he instead enters the same snowy nightmare as Jack Torrance. But in the first draft, Penn revealed, “it was actually Blade Runner.”

The Shining was the right choice, anyway (there’s probably still a Blade Runner nod in there somewhere). Not only because of the history between Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick — they first met on the set of The Shining, and Kubrick handed Spielberg the keys to A.I. Artificial Intelligence before his death in 1999 — but also because of the clue that leads Parzival and his friends to the Overlook: a creator who hates his creation. Author Stephen King, who wrote The Shining, famously hates Kubrick’s big-screen adaptation, which might explain why Ready Player One shows Jack Torrance, but not Jack Nicholson. To Spielberg, The Shining isn’t Nicholson or even Shelley Duvall; it’s Kubrick.

It’s a sweet, personal tribute in a movie otherwise filled with… things.

(Via Cinema Blend)

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