It must be exciting, as an author, to learn that your book is being turned into a movie by Steven Spielberg. (Though it’s probably more exciting to discover he’s directing it as opposed to merely producing it, as the author of I Am Number Four can likely attest.) Ernest Cline, author of bestselling science fiction novel Ready Player One, is undoubtedly even more pumped than your average writer, given that a large chunk of his narrative is given over to his Spielberg-fueled ’80s obsession. Unfortunately, the famed director is now crushing all Cline’s favorite memories into talcum, as Entertainment Weekly reports Spielberg is taking any references to himself, Steven Spielberg, out of the upcoming film. Someone, it seems, doesn’t like fun.
In a recent interview, Spielberg confirms that he doesn’t relish the idea of making a movie that references his own work, and thereby becomes a very meta production. “The movie won’t have any of my films in it,” says the man who doesn’t give a fuck how much you loved Raiders Of The Lost Ark. “I’m not putting myself in this movie.” If not, that’s going to necessitate some serious re-writing, because—as fans of the book know—the Spielberg-produced Back To The Future plays a big part in the story, and numerous other works either directed or produced by him pop up throughout, including The Goonies, E.T., and more. But again, Spielberg thinks you should get over it: “They reference so many ’80s movies. I’m doing the whole pop-culture thing. I’m just going to leave myself out of it. I can’t do that. Too self-referential.”
Clearly, there will have to be some different ’80s pop-cultural detritus inserted into the movie to fill the voids left by the Spielberg Suction-Vac™ procedure. Perhaps the story’s protagonist, Parzival (a.k.a. Wade Watts) can now tool around his virtual reality in the spaceship from Explorers, instead of his DeLorean. Or maybe all these potential plot holes can just be filled by the scowling visage of the “Where’s the beef?” lady. Regardless, Spielberg is currently casting for the film, which he hopes to start shooting in July, for a December 2017 release. First, he’s finishing up his adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, another beloved property from your youth that Steven Spielberg is preventing from referencing himself in any way, like the monster he is.