Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is one of the most popular horror movies of all time; Ready Player One is one of the most popular books from 2011; and when the two met on the big screen in the film adaptation of Ernest Cline’s novel, fans went nuts. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One was a smash-hit at box offices with over $582 million in worldwide sales. Though it saw mainstream success, some fans of the novel were upset that the film differed from the book in a variety of ways, but even the toughest of critics largely approved of one change Spielberg added in the film, The Shining sequence.
As Entertainment Weekly reported, in a recent interview with Steven Spielberg, initially, the legendary filmmaker didn’t want to talk about The Shining scene in Ready Player One that featured the recreation of the Overlook Hotel. He didn’t want to talk about the famed sequence because it was the one secret he wanted to keep safe. With the recent release of Ready Player One on digital, and with the film soon hitting DVD and Blu-ray on July 24, Steven Spielberg decided to talk about the details behind The Shining sequence.
It’s no secret that Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick were good friends, and that Steven was a longtime admirer of his work. For the first time ever, Spielberg revealed to Entertainment Weekly how he met the late filmmaker. He said that he met Kubrick on the set of The Shining, the same set he recreated for Ready Player One. Spielberg wanted to look at the soundstages because they were going to build the sets for Raiders of the Lost Ark in the same studios, so he reached out to Stanley to see if he could take a look at their work.
Steven Spielberg described to Entertainment Weekly how they hit it off.
“He was very warm, very complimentary. He had seen some of my movies and invited me to his house for dinner that night. We stayed friends for 19 years after that. Until his death.”
Because of his friendship with his late friend and how they met, this retro reference in Ready Player One meant the most to Steven. Stanley Kubrick passed away in 1999, and Steven finished one of that late filmmaker’s unfinished projects, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Ready Player One gave the Jurassic Park director another chance to pay homage to his old friend, and he explained how the set came to life.
“It’s a combination of set construction and digital set construction. So we built the elevators and we built the hallway leading up to the elevators, but the main living area of the Overlook with the fireplace is digital.”
Production designer Adam Stockhausen explained to Entertainment Weekly why they had to mix physical and digital sets.
“Whenever we have our characters walking around…there’s no need for any real-life scenery. In fact, it would just get in the way because it would block the infrared cameras that were trying to record the performance of the actors. When we were filming the girls in the hallway going to the elevator, and when we were filming the woman who was stepping out of the bath, we had the real bathtub and real shower curtain, and we matched the elevator doors just for those pieces.”
In Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, the characters enter the world of WarGames, but many fans are happy that Spielberg decided to change it to The Shining, and now that he has revealed further details, that sequence will likely be even more special to fans upon revisiting it.