On the surface, having Spielberg direct a film that is so referential to his most iconic decade sounded like such a good idea. The influence of Spielberg’s work on the original Ernest Cline novel is undeniable. It’s now confirmed, however, that he’s pulled most movie references that he was involved with, out of the movie adaptation. Here he is explaining his choice in a recent interview with Collider.
Christina Radish: You’re getting ready to start Ready Player One, which is a story that’s heavily drenched in nostalgia for an era that you defined, in a big way. Is that weird? How do you keep from making that a victory lap that says, “Look how awesome we were in the ‘80s”?
SPIELBERG: I think we were pretty awesome in the ‘80s. I hope the movie returns all of us to the awesomeness of the ‘80s. I love the ‘80s. I think one of the reasons I decided to make the movie was that it brought me back to the ‘80s and lets me do anything I want, except for with my own movies. I’ve cut most of my movies out of [Ernest Cline’s] book. Except for the DeLorean and a couple of other things that I had something to do with, I cut a lot of my own references out of the ‘80s. I was very happy to see there was enough without me that made the ‘80s a great time to grow up.
While I agree that there’s a lot left in the story without his stuff, it’s sad to see that he won’t be including so much of it. Does it impact the core story? No. However, it does take away some of the impact that makes Ready, Player One so cool. I just don’t quite get the reasoning. Was he afraid that people would consider it a victory lap? Hell, if anyone’s earned one, it’s him. Perhaps it was something as simple as getting the rights or agreeing on the price that the studio would have to pay for them. I don’t know. I’m just a little bummed out to hear that the rumors are true.