We first learned back in February that the Ready Player One movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, had found its Wade Watts in X: Men: Apocalypse actor Tye Sheridan, and he has since been joined by some amazing talent like Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline, Rogue One), Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall, Bridge of Spies), and Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl). When our own Christina Radish sat down to talk to Sheridan about his other upcoming movie Last Days in the Desert, he also spoke about working with Spielberg and much more.
As far as the audition process, Sheridan shared some of Spielberg’s process, saying:
I sent in several self-tapes, and then I was invited to come to L.A. and do a chemistry read with Olivia Cooke, in a room with Mr. Spielberg. He was holding the camera in the audition, and he shot it from three different angles. He did a frontal two-shot, and then two side angles. We did maybe two takes of each set-up, and that was it. I thought, “Geez, I don’t know how I did. Maybe there weren’t enough takes. I could have done better.” But I was at peace after the audition […] about a month later, I got a call. It was my agents and they said, “You’re going to be working with Steven Spielberg this summer.”
Sheridan of course praised Spielberg, calling him “a living legend,” and feels astounded by how fortunate he is to work with him. A note for film students:
Just the idea that I would be able to stand on the set with Mr. Spielberg and ask him a question about filmmaking, or ask him why a certain camera movement, or why this choice, or whether he can give me advice. […] For me, learning about cinema and the craft and the art of it […] this is the best film school there is, just to make movies and be there on set.
Sheridan also revealed he’s a fan of the book (which he said he’s currently about half-way through reading). Set in the year 2044, the character of Wade Watts stumbles upon the first clue in a Willy Wonka-esque puzzle to unlock the secrets of a popular virtual reality game, but other players are willing to kill for the intel. Sheridan said,
What’s great about the book and about the story is that it’s such a strong and honest depiction of what is to come, not only in entertainment, but for our future. I think that there will be a different plane of existence that is a virtual realm, and I think this movie is the key note to portraying that in entertainment. Potentially, it’s a huge milestone for virtual reality in cinema. And I was obsessed with virtual reality before I even found out that they were doing the film.
He went on to talk about the research into virtual reality he did even before his audition, but after he read the script he fell in love with the story’s relatability:
I [said to my friend], “In the story, this game exists and he is the most famous avatar in this virtual world, but in real life, he’s a loser. It’s such a relatable character. In his nature, there are contradictions between who he is inside the video game in the OASIS, and who he is in his real life.”
Sheridan concluded by saying, “I can’t wait to see it. And I’m so happy it’s being made by Steven Spielberg.”
Check back for our full interview with Sheridan about Last Days in the Desert before its May 13th release; Ready Player One is currently scheduled to debut March 30th, 2018.