How different is Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ to the book?

Simon Pegg discusses the differences between the film and Ernest Cline’s novel
Tye Sheridan and Lena Waithe in Ready Player One
[Image: Warner Bros]

Since Ready Player One was one of the most successful novels of the last decade it was hardly a surprise when Hollywood sought to adapt it into a blockbuster film. Especially as it is also packed to the brim with pop culture references that movie audiences would be particularly fond of.

 

But Simon Pegg recently admitted to me that he was originally a little wary about “Ready Player One” being adapted, though, thoughts that clearly dissipated after he read Zak Penn and Ernest Cline’s script because he plays the character of Ogden Morrow in the film.

 

“I was intrigued when I’d heard they were going to make the book into a film. Because, for a start, there was just the logistics of making it into the film, in terms of the breadth of references in it, and whether they would be able to clear that stuff,” Pegg explained over the phone.

 

“There were also elements of the book that work great in print but aren’t particularly cinematic. I am thinking about the quote along to various movies. A large part of the finale in the book is a sort of Monty Python quote along. I didn’t think that would work as a cinematic denouement.”

 

Cline and Penn managed to instantly eradicate Pegg’s concerns, though. While I’m also sure that the presence of a certain Steven Spielberg in the director’s chair helped, too.

“I was excited to see what Zak and Ernest did with the source material. And when I read it I was really impressed, because I felt like it captured the spirit of the book and turned it into a movie.”

“Because people often make the mistake of thinking that books can automatically be turned into movies. And they can’t. And you see it now and again with some adaptations. But with this they managed to take the literary form and turn it into a movie.”

“That’s why I love the fact that they mention ‘The Shining’ in it. I thought that was such a brilliant touch, because that’s famously a literary adaptation that did work but that the author hated.”

You can see for yourself exactly how “Ready Player One” references “The Shining” now, as the film is finally in cinemas.

 
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