Mark Rylance Joining Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' (Exclusive)

The 'Bridge of Spies' Oscar winner is fast becoming the director's go-to actor, with the sci-fi film marking their fourth collaboration.
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Mark Rylance

Mark Rylance is in final negotiations to co-star in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film Ready Player One.

The Bridge of Spies Oscar winner is fast becoming the go-to actor for the filmmaker. After collaborating with Spielberg on the Cold War-era drama, Rylance landed the titular role in the director's upcoming film The B.F.G., which is expected to debut next month at Cannes. Earlier this week, the British actor signed on to play Pope Pius IX in The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, which will mark Spielberg's follow-up to Ready Player One.

Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow are behind Ready Player One, an adaptation of Ernest Cline's best-selling novel. Rylance and Warners are still working out the dates, a prospect that has proved tricky given that the actor is on board to co-star in another movie for the studio, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. But Warners was able to find a way to have Rylance do both films (Dunkirk begins filming in France on May 23, and Ready Player One is heading toward a June start).

Tye Sheridan leads a cast that includes Olivia Cooke, Simon Pegg and Ben Mendelsohn in a story set in a virtual world called OASIS, in which a teenager (Sheridan) finds himself competing in a treasure hunt against ruthless foes after the game's founder dies and offers his fortune as the grand prize.

Rylance will play James Donovan Halliday, the creator of OASIS, an enigmatic figure with shades of Howard Hughes and Steve Jobs.

Ready Player One is being produced by Spielberg via his Amblin Partners banner, along with Donald De Line, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Dan Farah.