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Steven Spielberg Eyes 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Villain for 'Ready Player One'

"Bloodline" star Ben Mendelsohn has the offer to join Olivia Cooke in WB's adaptation of Ernie Cline's novel

As Steven Spielberg continues to search for the young protagonist of "Ready Player One," the director has set his sights on "Bloodline" star Ben Mendelsohn to play the villain in WB's adaptation of Ernest Cline's acclaimed sci-fi novel, TheWrap has learned.

Published in 2011, "Ready Player One" concerns the Oasis, a virtual reality universe that humans in the not-too-distant future come to prefer to living in the real world. Story beings with the founder of Oasis dies and offers his fortune up in a treasure hunt that brings out all kinds of contestants, including a teenager named Wade Watts.

Olivia Cooke is set to play the female lead in the film, which was written by Zak Penn. Mendelsohn is in early negotiations to play an executive for an Internet corporation that has designs on Oasis.

Spielberg will produce with Donald De Line, Dan Farah and Kristie Macosko Krieger, while Bruce Berman will executive produce. Warner Bros. will release "Ready Player One" on Dec. 15, 2017.

While many actors are wary of being typecast, Mendelsohn has embraced his villainous vibe since breaking out in the Australian crime movie "Animal Kingdom." He plays the "bad egg" of the family on Netflix's "Bloodline" and will soon be seen as one of the antagonists in Disney and Lucasfilm's "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

Mendelsohn is represented by CAA.