It may have recently had its release date pushed back to 2018 to avoid a clash with Rhian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII, but production on Steven Spielberg’s latest project, Ready Player One, is still ploughing ahead nicely. Today, official confirmation has come through that Tye Sheridan has been cast in the lead role of Wade Watts.
Ready Player One, based on the book of the same name, sees Watts live in a virtual reality world, stumbling across the first in a series of clues hidden by the world’s creator which, if followed through to their conclusion, will bestow upon the finder a fortune of untold value and power.
Sheridan himself, then, doesn’t have the backing of a vast majority of major-league films, but if you think he looks vaguely familiar, that’s because he’s set to play a young Cyclops in this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, and has also starred in The Tree of Life, which was relatively critically acclaimed on its release.
If you’re completely unfamiliar with Ready Player One, here’s a description of the book – I don’t know about you, but it sounds absolutely fantastic!
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
Ready Player One will be released in the US on 30 March 2018, with no confirmed UK release just yet. In addition to Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelssohn will also star in the book-to-film adaptation.