ReelBlend Podcast #16: Awesome Ready Player One Spoiler Talk With Screenwriter Zak Penn

Ready Player One

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If you've listened to ReelBlend the past few weeks -- and if you haven't, what's wrong with you? -- then you know that we have been strong advocates for Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One. The blockbuster legend was an ideal choice to adapt Ernie Cline's best-selling page-turner, itself a story that's drenched in nostalgia for a pop-culture era that Spielberg helped to create and shape. So when we were given the opportunity to have Ready Player One screenwriter Zak Penn on the show, we jumped... and it led to one of the best movie-geek conversations in ReelBlend history.

Zak Penn's previous credits include The Avengers, X2: X-Men United, The Incredible Hulk and the classic college comedy PCU. The man knows geek culture. Hell, he has helped establish the type of geek culture that we're all now buying into. So it was a dream to have him on for ReelBlend, where he helped us break down the new Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer, discuss the film's decision to premiere at Cannes, and weigh in on the latest Unpopular Decision, which pits the Back to the Future trilogy against the original Star Wars trilogy. Kevin thinks BTTF is better than Star Wars (and Sean actually agrees with Kevin). Zak tells them both why they are so very wrong.

From there, it's a deep dive into Ready Player One spoilers, so dig in if you already have seen Steven Spielberg's roller-coaster ride through the OASIS. We discuss so many fascinating topics, from the building of The Shining scene to the rumor that Spielberg once wanted Gene Wilder to play Halliday in the movie. This one's a must-listen!

Because Zak Penn's such a good dude, he joined ReelBlend for the full hour, and that means that he played #StreepBlend with us! We all wrestled with our choices for Meryl Streep's BEST performance. We came up with four different movies. But because it's Streep, all four could be correct. Give that a listen.

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Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.