The film Steven Spielberg once called his “greatest anxiety attack” is now on Netflix
(Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Film News

The film Steven Spielberg once called his "greatest anxiety attack" is now on Netflix

In the world of filmmaking, where dreams collide with reality, there are often moments of sheer euphoria and others of nail-biting anxiety and sometimes even dreaded depression. For author Ernest Cline, the latter came knocking when he learned that none other than Steven Spielberg was reading his script for Ready Player One, the sci-fi film currently storming Netflix in the US.

Starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance, Ready Player One is set in a dystopian future where people escape their harsh reality by immersing themselves in the virtual reality world of the OASIS—think Apple Vision Pro but set in 2045. When the creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a series of challenges that promise the winner his vast fortune and control of the virtual world. 

This is where protagonist Wade Watts decides to embark on the quest to solve these challenges, facing off against rivals and uncovering secrets from the past. Filled with references to 1980s pop culture, the story is a thrilling adventure that explores themes of friendship, identity, and the power of imagination.

But for Spielberg, Ready Player One was “perhaps the greatest anxiety attack I’ve ever had,” as he confessed at the 2018 SXSW as reported by IndieWire.

Spielberg explained the cause of his distress, “When I make a movie that I direct behind the camera … I am pretty much in control. But when I decided to make a movie sitting in the audience with you, and I direct a film in the seat right next to you, that means I’m making the picture for you. And your reaction is everything.”

Cline had his own trepidations. “When they told me that Steven was going to read the screenplay, I got really depressed,” he admitted, surprising many. “At first, I was really excited, then I was like, ‘Well, that’s never going to happen; he’s going to decide not to do it, and then I’m going to have to spend the whole rest of my life imagining what it would have been like if Steven Spielberg had made Ready Player One.” 

Fortunately for Cline and legions of fans worldwide, Spielberg took the helm and delivered. You can now watch Ready Player One on Netflix and catch the trailer here: