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The OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) in Ready Player One comes from the mind of author Ernest Cline, but this virtual world is filled with avatars, vehicles and more that hail from 1980s and 1990s pop culture, which includes Steve Spielberg movies. So when Spielberg was tapped to direct the Ready Player One movie, it was to be expected that we would have to oversee callbacks to several of his past projects. However, Cline says that Spielberg was incredibly cautious when it came back to referencing his own content. As Cline put it:
He was so loath to reference anything of his own. It's not that he's overly humble, but he's just not a fan of being a self-referential or playing tribute to [his] own stuff.
As Ernest Cline explained, the reason Spielberg doesn't like calling back to his own work stems from how the opening of his 1979 movie, 1941, included a recreation of a scene from Jaws, and later there was a tribute to Spielberg's TV movie, Duel. However, critics gave Spielberg grief for doing that, so since then, the director has shied away from referencing his previous projects. It's easy enough for him stay strong with this on most movies, but Ready Player One is an entirely different story, as Spielberg's work has been incredibly influential on pop culture, especially in the '80s and '90s. As a result, Cline and others working on Ready Player One had to coerce Spielberg into keeping in these particular elements that the Ready Player One book paid homage to. Cline continued:
[It was a] is a unique circumstance where we kind of had to convince him to do it. But mostly he would say yes when it was something he had produced and not directed.
As far as Steven Spielberg's directorial work goes, the biggest reference we've seen in the Ready Player One previews so far is the T-rex from Jurassic Park. But as Ernest Cline also mentioned to THR, when it came to movies that Spielberg executive produced, the Hollywood icon was willing to concede and keep those references in, hence why we still have the DeLorean from Back to the Future. However, it wasn't just through references that Spielberg influenced the Ready Player One movie's pre-production, as the director was able to re-insert a scene from the book that takes place inside a zero-gravity nightclub which the studio bigwigs originally felt would have been too expensive to create.
The reason Ready Player One is full of '80s and '90s pop culture is because the OASIS creator, James Halliday, loved movies, TV shows and video games from that era. As a result, the OASIS inhabitants have to study these projects in order to solve clues pointing to the location of Halliday's Easter egg, which will grant its finder control of the OASIS and Halliday's fortune. You can watch this hunt for greatness unfold on the big screen when Ready Player One hits theaters on March 29. To find out what other movies are being released this year, head to our 2018 premiere guide.