Just months after Olivia Cooke was chosen as the female lead in Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One, the casting process has shifted to find the villain. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Ben Mendelsohn is in early talks to portray the main antagonist in this adaptation of Ernest Cline's heralded sci-fi novel. Warner Bros. wouldn't comment on the story, but negotiations are said to be in the very early stages.

Warner Bros. acquired the rights to Ready Player One back in 2010, two years before the book was actually published. The story centers on a teenager named Wade Watts, who becomes obsessed with a virtual reality world known as Oasis, that allows players to live out their fantasies. After the game's creator suddenly dies, an elaborate treasure hunt is held within the Oasis world, with the winner emerging to take control of the entire company.

Along with gamers from around the world, Wade joins the adventure, and quickly finds himself pitted against powerful corporate foes and other ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the oasis or the real world, to reach the treasure first. Olivia Cooke will play Sam, a Canadian blogger who is known in the Oasis world as Art3mis, and will become a love interest for the lead character. Ben Mendelsohn is playing the executive of an Internet company who is trying to take control of Oasis.

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Steven Spielberg is directing from a screenplay by Zak Penn (Marvel's The Avengers), with the director also producing alongside Donald De Line, Dan Farah and Kristie Macosko Krieger. The project will be the filmmaker's first at Warner Bros. since 2001's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. It isn't known when production will begin yet, but Warner Bros.' has already set a December 15, 2017 release date.

Ben Mendelsohn most recently starred in Slow West, Mississippi Grind and the critically-acclaimed Netflix TV series Bloodline. He will next be seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is set for release on December 16. What do you think about Ben Mendelsohn playing the villain in Ready Player One?