Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has been a lifelong gamer, so the prospect of him directing the 80s-infused, gamer-centric sci-fi film Ready Player One made sense. But another lover of sci-fi is also joining the project, and he makes one hell of an addition. THR reports that Simon Pegg is in talks to join the ensemble of the Ernie Cline adaptation, which takes place in 2044 and revolves around a highly valuable online virtual reality space called OASIS, in which most inhabitants of Earth spend their free time.
And who is Pegg playing, you ask? If you’ve read the book, you’ll no doubt spark to this casting: Pegg will fill the role of Ogden Morrow, the co-creator of OASIS. The story of Ready Player One follows a teenager named Wade Watts, a gunter (a portmanteau of egg hunter) who is the first person to discover the first of three keys left behind by the late OASIS creator James Halliday. After Halliday’s death, a worldwide Easter Egg hunt ensues to find a hidden treasure that gives the discoverer control over OASIS—which, in this dystopian future, essentially means control over the world.
In Cline’s book, Morrow is very much the Steve Wozniak to James Halliday’s Steve Jobs, and I’m delighted to hear that Pegg will be taking on the part. Mud and X-Men: Apocalypse star Tye Sheridan is set to play Wade, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl standout Olivia Cooke is playing Art3mis, a virtual friend of Wade’s, and Ben Mendelsohn is set as the villainous Nolan Sorrento, head of a company that wants to find all the eggs so they can take control of OASIS.
This won’t be Pegg’s first time working with Spielberg. He and Nick Frost had supporting roles in the filmmaker’s first animated feature, The Adventures of Tintin, so this is Pegg’s second time working with the iconic director. While I have mixed feelings about the book, I am beyond intrigued to see how Spielberg handles the material, and he’s put together one hell of a cast so far, so count me cautiously optimistic.
Expect to hear more casting announcements soon as Spielberg aims to start shooting in June. Warner Bros. will release Ready Player One in theaters on March 30, 2018.