'Ready Player One': All We Know About Spielberg's Film As Mark Rylance Joins

Rylance is set to play the creator of the virtual world at the heart of Spielberg's adaptation of author Ernest Cline's beloved sci-fi thriller.

 Christopher Polk / Getty

As we pointed out yesterday, legendary director Steven Spielberg and British actor and reigning Best Supporting Actor winner Mark Rylance are now best professional friends. That friendship runs deeper than we even knew, as the Irish actor has just joined yet another Spielberg film, Ready Player One.

Rylance bagged his Oscar for Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies last year, and was already set up to appear as the titular giant in the director’s upcoming return to children’s fare, The BFG, which will hit theaters this June. News broke earlier this week that Rylance would re-team with Spielberg once again in the religious drama The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, which is set to go into production sometime in early 2017 — after Ready Player One, Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s hit sci-fi book.

Spielberg and Rylance, BFFs.

Kevork Djansezian / Getty

So what’s Ready Player One all about anyway?

It’s an adaptation of author Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name

  • Cline’s reference-filled novel (which mentions Spielberg and his films from the 1980s by name) was released in 2011 and proceeded to win a slew of awards. The book, set in a dystopian future, focuses on a teenager named Wade Watts, who must find solve a series of puzzles to amass a huge fortune in an immersive VR experience called OASIS, was bought by Warner Bros. for a film adaptation the same day it was published as a book.

It’s got a stacked cast

Tye Sheridan will play Wade Watts.

  • Despite the production setting up an open call via a website called ReadyPlayerOneMovieCasting.com, which basically let any kid off the street try out for the role of Wade, Spielberg found his leading man in the form of actor Tye Sheridan, who was most recently seen in Midnight Special and will be seen this summer in X-Men: Apocalypse as a young Cyclops.

Olivia Cooke will play Samantha.

  • Olivia Cooke, who broke out in last year’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, won the role of Sam, Wade’s friend whose name in the virtual world is “Art3mis.”

Simon Pegg will play Ogden Morrow.

  • Simon Pegg will reteam with Spielberg (he was in Tintin) as OASIS co-creator Ogden Morrow, better known in the story by his avatar: the “Great and Powerful Og.”
  • Rylance will play OASIS creator James Donovan Halliday, a role once rumored to be offered to veteran actor Gene Wilder who must have decided not to come out of retirement even for someone as influential as Spielberg.

It’s being written by the perfect person

  • Cline adapted his own novel for the screenplay, which fans will love. It marks the second time one of Cline’s screenplays will be made into a movie. He was also responsible for screenwriting duties on the 2009 comedy Fanboys
  • Zak Penn — who’s responsible for helping write comic book movies like The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, and a variety of X-Men movies, as well as upcoming sequels in the Transformers and Pacific Rim franchises — also did rewrites on the script with fellow screenwriter Eric Eason.

*Its release date was pushed by Star Wars: Episode VIII*

  • Ready Player One originally had a December 15, 2017 release date, but even Spielberg himself is no match for the power of the Force. It would have directly competed with the next Star Wars episode, so Warner Bros. pushed the movie to a March 30, 2018 release.

It doesn’t begin shooting until mid-to-late 2016

  • The director told Entertainment Weekly, “I’m trying to get the whole thing cast by the first of the year, and start shooting in July,” but various reports say the film with begin shooting in Louisiana because of those sweet, sweet tax incentives sometime by the end of 2016.
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