‘Ready Player One’ Crew Sneaks Spielberg References into His Own Film

     March 22, 2018


Ready Player One is basically Easter Eggs: The Movie. But even Steven Spielberg agreed that adding references to his own movies into his adaptation of Ernest Cline‘s best-selling novel would be a meta step too far. (Okay, he made one exception: Protagonist Wade Watts could drive the famous DeLorean from Spielberg’s executive produced Back to the Future series.) The crew of the highly anticipated movie, however, felt differently.

As EW reports, the crew, many of whom are clearly Spielberg fans, embarked on a secretive mission to visually reference the acclaimed director’s productions. Funnily enough, most of the time they weren’t successful; the sly and shrewd director either caught them in the act or spotted their shenanigans and nipped them in the bud. Be sure to visit EW for a first-hand account of the discovery–and secrecy–of these crew-created Easter eggs, a few of which we’ve included below:


Here are a few that didn’t make it into the final film despite the crew’s best efforts:

  • Gremlins – Graffiti in the style of one of the grinning green-skinned creatures’ jaws was spotted and erased.
  • The Goonies – As production designer Adam Stockhausen says, “We had a sly Fratelli’s Diner, but we got caught. He nixed it.”

But the crew eventually wore Spielberg down. Even if he nixed something in the principal photography phase, the visual artists in post-production kept at it. Spielberg admitted to noticing some little things, and he let some of them slide:

  • Schindler’s List – A copy of Thomas Keneally‘s 1982 book “Schindler’s Ark”, which served as the source material for the acclaimed film, can be spotted in Wade’s apartment. Or at least it could while on set; will it make it into the final film? The sharp-eyed among us may find out, but only the cast and crew know for sure.
  • Gremlins – They’re back! Keep your eyes peeled in the massive final battle for this one. According to Spielberg himself, “I think a lot of the digital artists were trying to get some of their favorite ’80s cultural references in there, you know? And having seen every shot 30 times as we go through all the different steps from pre-viz to animatic to final, I started noticing little things. They snuck a gremlin in. I said, ‘Well, I guess it’s too late to take that guy out.’ So he survived the cut.”

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