art of ready player one book cover

Steven Spielberg‘s Ready Player One is now playing everywhere and raking in boffo box office in the process. The book The Art of Ready Player One takes you inside the complicated, special-effects laden production of Spielberg’s latest blockbuster.

Below, read an exclusive excerpt from The Art of Ready Player One, and then enter for a chance to win a free copy of the book signed by Steven Spielberg, Ernest Cline and more.

art of ready player one autographed

If you’re longing for even more Ready Player One action, today is your lucky today. We have an exclusive excerpt from the insightful new book The Art of Ready Player One by Gina McIntyre. We also have a chance for you to win a free copy of the book autographed by the beard himself: Steven Spielberg. Ready Player One author Ernest Cline and some other folks signed it as well.

To enter to win, simply head over to this page and fill out the form. Make sure you read the contest rules at the bottom of the page as well (don’t worry, we’re not going to make you go easter egg hunting to win).

The exclusive Ready Player One excerpt below takes you inside the huge race sequence from the film. You can watch that in the embed above, if you need a refresher.

The Art of Ready Player One – Written by Gina McIntyre

Art of ready Player One cover

Off to the Races

THE FIRST OF HALLIDAY’S CHALLENGES inside the film version of the OASIS takes players through an eye-popping race that traverses the streets of a gleefully heightened version of New York City. The race is a daily ritual for the High Five and plenty of other gunters: The winner will receive the exclusive Copper Key, the rest of the three coveted artifacts that will unlock Halliday’s fortune. Trouble is, the contestants have been trying to win for years, but no one has ever crossed the finish line. This is maybe not too surprising given that the streets constantly shift and erupt and racers must evade dangerous blows from adversaries like King Kong—who lurks behind buildings, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

The sequence is one of many stunning set pieces invented for Spielberg’s film that are designed to surprise fans of the novel and thrill newcomers to the world of Cline’s story. “Right off the bat, I felt we need to make these challenges physical and visceral,” says co-screenwriter Zak Penn.

That meant creating intense new contests that were not only in keeping with the spirit of the book but also inherently cinematic. Set in a radically reimagined futuristic metropolis, the race gave the filmmakers the chance to show the story’s epic scale (and 1980s influence) at work—something that would have been slightly more difficult had they retained the book’s first challenge, which sees Parzival complete a Dungeons & Dragons campaign before facing off against a “demilich” in a tournament based on the video game Joust.

“The entire thing is sort of a gigantic pinball machine version of New York City,” says production designer Adam Stockhausen. “It’s as if you combined New York City with the way the city looked in all the ’80s films like Ghostbusters, plus Pole Position or any racing game. It has elements that are very much New York, and then it has these textures and looks from those ’80s films layered upon it. We have the Manhattan Bridge connecting to Liberty Island and spinning on a corkscrew like a carnival ride. The streets are opening up and moving.”

ready player one art book

Adds ILM’s Alex Jaeger, “The world itself is trying to kill you. We’d have these big brainstorm sessions where everybody came up with ideas: What if these things shoot up out of the ground? Or suddenly the bridge peels up and does a loop-the-loop or throws people into buildings? Or the floor drops out from under them?”

The High Five are front and center in the race: Aech piloting a behemoth monster truck, Art3mis astride the red motorcycle from anime classic Akira, and Parzival in perhaps the most immediately recognizable vehicle of all—the DeLorean from Back to the Future, a film that Spielberg produced. Although Cline’s novel includes numerous nods to Spielberg’s work, the director largely struck them from the script. But, Penn recalls, “He said right up front . . . we’ve got to have the DeLorean.”

Fans will instantly recognize this iconic automobile, but Marty McFly might notice some key changes to the car that Wade drives—for starters, the license plate reads PARZIVAL instead of OUTATIME. “It’s the Back to the Future DeLorean, but it’s not 100 percent the Back to the Future DeLorean,” says Jaeger. “It’s Parzival’s DeLorean, so it’s been beat up and he doesn’t have the money to fix it up. So, the first time we see it, it looks very dilapidated and headlights are missing. Parts are hanging off of it. It’s got bullet holes all through it. He’s done a few little modifications, too. On the grill, instead of the ‘DMC DeLorean Motor Company,’ it’s got the light bar from KITT from Knight Rider. He’s sort of mixing his pop culture in there.”

RPO art

Cline owns a Back to the Future model DeLorean, and he invited Parzival actor Tye Sheridan to his home in Austin to take it out for a test drive, an experience that would prove useful once the actor was on the motion-capture stage pretending to pilot the car. “If I hadn’t been in the DeLorean before, I wouldn’t have known that you can’t see out of the rearview mirror because there’s a blind spot,” Sheridan says. “And it’s got this interesting steering wheel that’s not a wheel at all. It’s just one bar with two handle grips. It was nice for me to get an understanding of what it feels like to actually be in the DeLorean.”

Within the volume, Sheridan piloted a wire-frame version of the DeLorean made from steel rods. “They would just have the frame of the door and seats and steering wheel there, so there was enough there for the actors to act against,” says Jaeger. “Because they’re wearing the motion-capture suits and we didn’t want to block the motion sensors, all the props had to be very airy and open. Anything bigger than a table had to have as many holes in it as possible so it wasn’t blocking the signals.”

Excerpt provided by Insight Editions from The Art of Ready Player One. © Warner Bros. Entertainment. READY PLAYER ONE and all related characters and elements © and ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment (s18)

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