Simon Pegg was stunned when Steven Spielberg offered him a role in Ready Player One after jokingly telling his agent to hold all calls unless the filmmaker reached out.
The Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation actor had decided to take a six-month break to recover from the exhausting process of writing and starring in 2016’s Star Trek: Beyond, and had no intention of taking on any new projects during that time.
However, he cut short his vacation when the celebrated Jurassic Park director contacted him out of the blue.
“I finished Star Trek: Beyond, and that had been a huge experience because we wrote it and it was very intense, and it was wonderful, but afterwards I felt so tired, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,” he explained on breakfast show Today. “I thought, I’ve kinda done everything I want to do with my life, I just want to take six months off.
“I called my agent and said (in jest), ‘Don’t call me for six months unless Steven Spielberg calls’ – and he did!”
The British star didn’t have to think twice about the gig, quipping, “He said, ‘Hey, come out of retirement, you fool!’. No, he just said, ‘We’re doing Ready Player One, and we’d like you to do this role,’ and of course I said yes, because it’s Steven Spielberg.”
The sci-fi film is based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name, and is set in a near-future dystopian Earth where people spend most of their time in a virtual space called the OASIS. When the co-creator of OASIS dies, it’s revealed he’s left his vast fortune hidden in the virtual world for one lucky person to find.
Pegg, who portrays the surviving inventor, claims Ready Player One is a true filmmaking masterpiece, and there was so much to take in, he had to watch the movie twice.
“Half of the film is virtual, so it’s performance capture, half of it’s live action… and it’s extraordinary,” Simon gushed. “Visually, I had to see it twice.”
“I do find it hard to watch myself, but this film was so overwhelming,” he shared. “I watched it in London at the premiere and I watched it in L.A. (at that premiere), just so I could take it (all) in.”
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