Ready Player One, released by Warner Bros. earlier this year, is a high tech world of wonder that captivated audiences with its 80’s retro reality. One scene, in particular, pays homage to late filmmaker Stanely Kubrick and his work on Stephen King classic, The Shining. Director Steven Spielberg is finally opening up about his motivation behind including the ominous Overlook Hotel in Ready Player One.
“It was nostalgic for me because I first met Stanley Kubrick on the set that I depict in Ready Player One,” Spielberg tells EW.
It turns out that Steven Spielberg began a longtime bond with Stanley Kubrick when the two crossed paths during set-building for Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and Kubrick’s The Shining. With two blockbusters (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) under his belt, young Spielberg was still hungry to learn more and veteran movie making master Kubrick was happy to oblige.
Spielberg definitely took advantage of his time with Kubrick, even questioning his method of using a model of the set and small stick figures for prospecting shots. Kubrick’s response? “Yeah, what’s wrong with that?” Spielberg offered a humble reply. “Nothing. Nothing. You do you, Stanley Kubrick.”
“He was very warm, very complimentary. He had seen some of my movies and invited me to his house for dinner that night,” Spielberg says. “We stayed friends for 19 years after that. Until his death.” – Source: Entertainment Weekly
Mr. Kubrick passed in 1999 but Spielberg has managed to keep his vision alive. With Warner Bros. having released both movies, it was easy obtaining rights to recreate scenes from The Shining into Ready Player One. The challenge came about while establishing the visual effects which took a combination of both real life and digital set construction. Production designer Adam Stockhausen simplifies it as such…
“Whenever we have our characters walking around, Aech and Parzival and Art3mis, there’s no need for any real-life scenery. In fact, it would just get in the way because it would block the infrared cameras that were trying to record the performance of the actors.” – Source: EW
”When we were filming the girls in the hallway going to the elevator, and when we were filming the woman who was stepping out of the bath, we had the real bathtub and real shower curtain, and we matched the elevator doors just for those pieces. We had a real background behind an actor so you wouldn’t get that green-screen effect.” – Source: EW
The Ready Player One crew also revisited Stephen King’s novel to help expand upon the horror-filled hotel. ‘Constant Readers’ can surely appreciate that nothing was overlooked. 😉
“We did a whole series of thumbnail sketches just to try to break things open,” Stockhausen says. “What if the hedge animals come to life and start chasing us? What if we go into the bathroom and all of a sudden it turns into a hamster wheel and you can’t get out? What if we take the hedge maze miniature that’s on the table in the original film and our characters are miniature — and a giant ax comes swinging through?”
A friendship was forged between two fantastic filmmakers and it is no wonder that Mr. Spielberg holds his retro reference to The Shining as his favorite. Being a longtime fan of Stephen King, it topped my list as well. Ready Player One brought back lots of shining memories from my youth. Thank you, Steven Spielberg.
Source: Entertainment Weekly
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