Ready Player One The Shining scene

One of the most memorable scenes in Steven Spielberg‘s Ready Player One involves a stunningly accurate recreation of the Overlook Hotel from Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining. Now, Spielberg himself is providing some insight in to the scene, including a very personal connection.

I’m a huge Spielberg fan, but Ready Player One left me cold. Yet despite all my problems with the film, I’ll freely admit I was impressed with the Shining scene. Early in the film, the main characters of Ready Player One – who are all avatars inhabiting a virtual reality world – venture into a highly-detailed recreation of the Overlook Hotel from Kubrick’s The Shining. The scene eventually descends into goofy chaos, but when it starts out, the full recreation of the look and feel of part of Kubrick’s film is very impressive.

Spielberg and company created the scene by taking a “high-quality telecine transfer” of a print of The Shining, and scanning it into a computer. From there, they digitally recreated the locations needed for the scene. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Spielberg opens up about the scene, describing the very personal connection he has to it. Spielberg and Kubrick were friends, and that friendship eventually resulted in Spielberg taking over directorial duties on A.I., a film Kubrick had been planning to make for years. But the friendship started back when Kubrick was making The Shining.

“It was nostalgic for me because I first met Stanley Kubrick on the set that I depict in Ready Player One,” Spielberg says in the EW interview. The filmmaker explains that the Overlook Hotel set was very close to where the sets for Raiders of the Lost Ark were being built. While in the vicinity, Spielberg wandered over to the soundstages where Kubrick was filming, and met the man himself.

“The set was exactly the way it is in the movie, all finished. They weren’t shooting yet,” Spielberg says. “Stanley had a model of the set on a table where the typewriter is, and he was using a Nikon camera with an inverted periscope lens, actually taking still photographs with tiny stick figures. He was prospecting for shots.” Spielberg adds:

“I looked at that and I said, ‘You’ve got the whole set and you’re looking for shots on a small quarter-inch of the scale tabletop model?’ And Stanley said, ‘Yeah, what’s wrong with that?’”

From there, Kubrick invited Spielberg to his home for dinner, and the two remained friends for 19 years, until Kubrick’s death. When it came time to make Ready Player One, Spielberg found a way to pay tribute to his friend by recreating a moment from one of Kubrick’s most iconic movies.

“It’s a combination of set construction and digital set construction,” Spielberg says of the Ready Player One scene. “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.”

Ready Player One is now available on Digital HD. It hits Blu-ray on July 24, 2018.

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