Mark Rylance, who you may be familiar with as Thomas Cromwell in the BBC’s Wolf Hall (he’s also the voice of Flop in CBeebies’ Bing), has become a rather unlikely Spielberg fave in the last few years. First, he found himself winning an Oscar for the director’s 2015 effort Bridge Of Spies, then he was back in the saddle as the BFG himself, and now he’s working on Ready Player One, Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s pop culture reference juggernaut.
The 59-year-old theatre stalwart’s connection to Spielberg actually goes back three decades, as he was originally tapped for a role in Empire Of The Sun – which he turned down to walk the boards at the National Theatre instead – but when he was asked to come back for Bridge Of Spies, The BFG and beyond, he was thrilled to become part of the collective.
“Steven asked me, and I was very much enjoying working with him on Bridge of Spies, so he asked me during that and I hadn’t read the book and I fell in love with the book and the script,” the actor explained at a launch event in London. “I pick jobs mostly because of the people, if I’m interested in working with the people, as long as it’s a good story and isn’t a story that is promoting violence or something like that, I mean I’m lucky enough to try and be able to do that, but if I wasn’t so lucky I’d have to take any job. We’ve been through so many things together now.”
Rylance is set to play the late James Donovan Halliday in Ready Player One, one of the original creators of virtual universe OASIS.