While filmmaker Steven Spielberg just dipped his toe into the fantasy genre for only the second time in his career with The BFG, the director’s next project puts him firmly back in the realm of sci-fi blockbusters. Indeed, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time is helming an adaptation of author Ernie Cline’s bestselling novel Ready Player One, and anticipation is mighty high for what should be a massive, thrilling sci-fi adventure. So with the film on the way, what can we expect? Below, get the rundown of everything we know so far about the Ready Player One movie.
Cline’s novel was released in 2011 and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. The story takes place in the year 2044, in which Earth has become ravaged by overpopulation and filth. Given the unattractive nature of reality, most humans spend their days immersed in OASIS, which is a virtual utopia in which people interact with others via digital avatars, exploring different worlds and realms, and even attending school. Indeed, every child is equipped with an OASIS-ready set that allows them to partake in schooling via virtual reality, but traveling off the very basic “school planet” requires credits.
A couple of years before our story begins, the creator of OASIS, an eccentric by the name of James Halliday, died and thus unveiled a worldwide Easter Egg hunt. Whosoever finds the three Easter Eggs hidden in OASIS becomes the new owner of OASIS, and given that the virtual space has become the most popular and lucrative thing in the world, that owner would wield immense power—it’d be like if someone inherited ownership over the Internet.
The Easter Egg hunt is ongoing, with everyone from young newbies to professional corporations dipping their toes into the “gunters” (egg hunters) water. Our hero, a teenager named Wade Watts living in Oklahoma City, manages to find the first clue for the first Easter Egg after a few years, thus kicking the Easter Egg hunt into high gear and making him Target Number 1 of those who’d rather wield the power of OASIS themselves.
Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan)– Our protagonist, who goes by the virtual name of Parzival, played by X-Men: Apocalypse and Mud star Tye Sheridan.
- Art3mis (Olivia Cooke)– A famous gunter and blogger with whom Wade strikes up a virtual relationship and subsequently develops a massive crush. The two find themselves in competition to find the Easter Eggs. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Bates Motel actress Olivia Cooke fills the role.
- Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) – The film’s main antagonist, Nolan Sorrento is a high-ranking official of a corporation that seeks control of the OASIS and thus enlists hundreds of employees to hunt the Easter Eggs as one hive mind. Should Sorrento gain control, he wishes to monetize OASIS, which thus far has been a free service. Bloodline and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Ben Mendolsohn fills the role.
- James Halliday (Mark Rylance) – Seen in flashback and in virtual message form, Spielberg regular (and Oscar-winner) Mark Rylance fills the role of the famous James Halliday, who is a mix between Howard Hughes and Steve Jobs.
- Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg) – James Halliday’s former partner and best friend, Ogden Morrow is the co-creator of OASIS and is very much the Steve Wozniak of the story, to be played by Simon Pegg.
- Daito (Win Morisaki) – One half of a Japanese brother gunter duo, Daito ends up forming a friendly relationship with Watts’ Parzival in the virtual space. He will be played by Japanese singer-actor Win Morisaki.
- And Silicon Valley actor J. Miller is playing an unspecified role in the film.
Spielberg signed on to direct the Ready Player One movie in March 2015, marking a mighty exciting partnership with Warner Bros. He cast Cooke pretty quickly in the role of Art3mis, but finding his Wade Watts was a bit more difficult as the filmmaker auditioned a number of actors before settling on Sheridan for the role.
Zak Penn, the screenwriter behind Elektra, X-Men: The Last Stand, and the upcoming Pacific Rim 2, has penned the script for the adaptation, but although the book contains a number of references to Spielberg’s films of the 80s, the director recently revealed that he’s removed most of the nods to movies with which he was involved.
John Williams is, of course, returning to compose the score, and Spielberg is working once again with many of his familiar team members, including cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, who’s shot every Spielberg movie since Schindler’s List. One departure is the film’s production designer—Adam Stockhausen, whose credits include Moonrise Kingdom, 12 Years a Slave, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, is serving as production designer on Ready Player One instead of Spielberg’s frequent collaborator Rick Carter. Spielberg first worked with Stockhausen on Bridge of Spies, when Carter was occupied with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so this won’t be an entirely new collaboration but it is indeed a fresh one as Spielberg has been working with Carter since The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Filming is taking place mostly in London, with the film slated to hit theaters worldwide on March 30, 2018.