‘Ready Player One’ Female Lead Shortlist Includes Elle Fanning, Lola Kirke, and Olivia Cooke

     September 1, 2015

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I’m staying cautiously optimistic about Steven Spielberg directing Ready Player One even though this feels like it could easily become Robopocalypse scenario where he drops out at the last moment. He’s a great choice to helm this film, and while he’s currently hard at work on BFG, pieces are moving into place for Ready Player One.

According to The Wrap, they’ve lined up five young actresses for the female lead role of Art3mis, a “gunter” who is hunting for the keys that will let the one who solves the riddle to own the OASIS, a highly valuable, online virtual reality space. The Wrap has three of the five names: Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Lola Kirke (Mistress America), and Elle Fanning (Maleficent). The other two names on the shortlist are currently a mystery.


ready-player-one-book-coverAlso a mystery is who will play protagonist Wade Watts, a gunter (a portmanteau of egg hunter) who is the first person to discover the first of the three keys left behind by the OASIS creator James Halliday.

Coming back to Art3mis, I hope that the movie does a better job of fleshing out her character than Ernest Cline’s book. She’s basically a “tough chick idol”, a dream girl for Wade who would be his equal if she weren’t always one step behind him. It will also be interesting to see how Spielberg handles the difference between the avatar Art3mis and her real-world counterpart.

As for these three actresses, they’re all incredibly talented, and it sets a high bar for who will get cast as Wade. Cooke and Kirk have had tremendous years with their performances in Me and Earl and Mistress America, respectively, and Fanning could have a powerful turn as a transgender woman later this year in the drama About Ray.

Fanning also has a role in Jay Roach’s Trumbo and stars in Nicholas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon. She’s also co-starring in Ben Affleck’s Live By Night.


Cooke co-stars in Bates Motel, and she’s also in the mix for a role in Star Wars Episode VIII. She’s also playing a prostitute in the indie drama Katie Says Goodbye.

Finally, Kirke recently wrapped filming in Doug Liman’s Mena starring Tom Cruise, and she’s attached to the adaptation of the YA novel Fallen. So even if these actresses don’t land in Ready Player One, their careers should be more than fine.

Ready Player One opens December 15, 2017.

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Image via Gaumont and Wild Bunch


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Image via Fox Searchlight

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Image via Universal Pictures


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