Here’s what we learned about Ready Player One at the WonderCon 2018 Warner Bros. panel
We got a chance to attend the WonderCon 2018 Warner Bros. panel, where we got a closer look at the upcoming Ready Player One, based on the book by Ernest Cline. Attending the panel were Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, book author Ernest Cline, and screenwriter Zak Penn.
Author Ernest Cline told the crowd that Steven Spielberg is part of his DNA and the DNA of the film. He said that his stories were an inspiration. The idea of downtrodden kids going off on an adventure was directly from that. He spoke about meeting Spielberg. “It was one of the biggest days of my life…when anyone goes to meet Steven…everyone just had a haircut and everyone is trembling.” He joked that he was Charlie Bucket with his golden ticket that day. He also said that the race scene was the first thing they spoke about.
Penn told the crowd that he and Cline knew each other from his documentary Atari Game Over. He said that the fact that he and Spielberg and Cline as the creator of the universe were working together and that that was incredibly helpful.
Morisaki had the crowd laughing when he told them that meeting Spielberg consisted of a hug. “I was so nervous. He was so warm. He was like my grandpa. Every morning he hugs us. We don’t hug each other in Japan. It was my first time to hug a director,” he said. He also said that his favorite part of filming was the craft services table where everyone gets their food for the day. He said they have nothing like it on movie sets in Japan and that’s how he knew he was in Hollywood.
Mendelsohn joked that he met Spielberg but that he was impressed with Mendelsohn. “The first time I met Steven was at a little French restaurant. He had a hard time looking at me for a long time… Lena said he was star struck… eventually he sort of relaxed enough to talk, then he made his offer. I said, ‘I’ll think about it and get back to you on that.'”
Waithe told the crowd that the first thing her character does is celebrate a good moment through a dance. “A freestyle dance, that was the first thing I had to do for Mr. Spielberg.” She said he gives very clear direction and allows you the space to find your character.
Cooke said that she was in her mocap suit with Mark Rylance, doing a scene. She said that she was trying to impress Spielberg, but he told her, “You’re going to have to go a bit bigger than that because we can’t see what you’re doing.”
Sheridan said that Spielberg doesn’t like rehearsal. When they were working on a scene, he told everyone to go home. He told Sheridan that he wanted him to do the John Travolta walk from Saturday Night Fever and pulled out his phone, turned on the music and made him do it.
Waithe, Sheridan and Cooke talked about doing mocap, saying that none of them had ever done it before. Waithe’s character is an eight-foot man with robot parts and they all said it was hard to get used to looking at the ball on top of her head instead of her eyes.
When asked about playing villains, Mendelsohn said, “The pay is better. when you’re playing a bad guy… the pay is just so much better if you’re willing to take on the responsibility of playing the bad guy, you just get paid so much more.”
Penn and Cline spoke about the changes from the book and not using too much Spielbergian reference material. Cline said, “Spielberg made it clear that he didn’t want to reference himself too much or make reference to his work.” He said they put in references though, when he wasn’t looking. “We would sneak things in. If he would catch them, he would remove them. But he didn’t catch all of them.”
They also said that George Lucas and Tom Cruise showed up on the set. Lucas apparently teased Spielberg about using digital cameras, and Cooke was especially nervous to meet Cruise. She joked that she blacked out, but that she was told that she bowed as though he were royalty.
Ready Player One stars Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse, Mud), Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Bates Motel), Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Bloodline), Lena Waithe (Master of None), T.J. Miller (Deadpool), Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), with Simon Pegg (the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible movies) and Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk).
Ready Player One opens in theaters on March 29, 2018. Are you guys excited for the film? Let us know in the comments.