Sunday, 24 January 2016

Ben Mendelsohn joins Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One

Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel) is already in place, and now Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) has chosen his next cast member for Ready Player One. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly) is set to join the science fiction project in a villainous capacity.

Cooke is Sam, a Canadian blogger who goes by the handle Art3mis, while Mendelsohn will play the story's major antagonist Nolan Sorrento.

Written by Ernie Cline, the screenwriter behind Fanboys (2009), Ready Player One follows teenager Wade Watts who likes to escape his dreary, dangerous real world by logging into Oasis, a globally networked virtual utopia where users lead idyllic alternate lives.

When the game's eccentric, Steve Jobs style billionaire creator dies, he offers up his fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt. Wade is pitted against powerful corporate foes and ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the Oasis and the real world, to reach the riches first.

The script started life with Cline and Eric Eason (A Better Life) before Cline's friend Zak Penn (The Avengers) was hired by Warner Bros to take a fresh pass on boiling down the sprawling tale, laden with references to classic video games, comics, movies and other pop cultural items. Spielberg's hunt for the right cast continues, since there is still no news of a male lead to play Watts.

Spielberg is currently putting the finishing touches to The BFG, while Mendelsohn has been at work on Gareth Edward's (Godzilla) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The former arrives in UK cinemas on 22 July, while the latter is set to arrive 16 December. Ready Player One is currently pencilled in for 15 December 2017, with shooting taking place sometime soon.

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