Why Ben Mendelsohn’s ‘Ready Player One’ Baddie Won’t Be Faithful to the Book

“Anyone that’s coming at it wanting a faithful re-creation or transposing of the written Sorrento is not gonna get it,” actor tells TheWrap of Steven Spielberg adaptation

“Ready Player One” is a book that celebrates fandom of nerd culture and is obsessed with even the tiniest details, so it’s surprising that Ben Mendelsohn — who plays villain Nolan Sorrento in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film adaptation — says his performance won’t try and mimic the novel.

“I’m not trying to be faithful to the book Sorrento at all,” Mendelsohn told TheWrap. “So, anyone that’s coming at it wanting a faithful re-creation or transposing of the written Sorrento is not gonna get it. I would rarely do that because my feeling about written literature characters is you don’t get to better them. My basic preference is to just try and wipe that slate, and to try and do it in context of what is going on around the film. I treat them as very different entities in that way.”

“I sort of see that stuff as playing a song live,” Mendelsohn elaborated. “And part of the joy of playing a song live is re-interpreting it, or switching it up, or giving it a newness or an alternative. Because I think the books are their own kind of perfection, and I don’t try to fall short of them.”

“Ready Player One” is a futuristic adventure following characters who live and work within a virtual reality world called the OASIS. Hidden within the OASIS is an “Easter Egg” — originally a gaming term for a secret included in the game by its developer — that will offer anyone who discovers it a massive fortune.

Mendelsohn’s Sorrento is a high-ranking official of an evil corporation and the head of the bounty hunters the “Sixers” with a goal to find the Easter Egg and take control of the OASIS. In the novel, he’s described as “having blonde hair and a hawkish nose,” according to a “Ready Player One” Wiki.

Giving the “Bloodline” star a long leash creatively isn’t the only liberty Spielberg is taking with Ernest Cline’s source material. T.J. Miller recently explained that his character i-Rok, who gets commissioned by Sorrento to hunt down the hero, has a much larger part in the film than in the book.

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“Ready Player One” also stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance and Simon Pegg, and will hit theaters March 30, 2018.