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One of these three actresses could be Art3mis in Ready Player One

With Steven Spielberg's next project Ready Player One having scored an official release date, attention now turns to who'll star in the sci-fi adaptation of Ernie Cline's nostalgia-drenched novel. According to a report from The Wrap, three contenders are now heading up a shortlist: Elle Fanning (Maleficent), Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel, and also in the running for Star Wars VIII) and Lola Kirke (Gone Girl).

The site's sources maintain that two other unidentified actresses also feature on the list for the role of female lead Samantha Cook. In Cline's novel, Cook plays second fiddle to Wade Watts, a young teen obsessed with '80s pop culture who ventures into a virtual reality world known as OASIS to retrieve an Easter Egg prize. The listed trio are linked to the part of Samantha's online avatar, Art3mis.

Apparently, the film's casting director has kickstarted the process of narrowing down potential female leads in advance, to hurry along production once Spielberg finishes work on Bridge of Spies and The BFG. With that in mind, it's unusual that there's been no talk of who might play the male lead yet, though I can't imagine that'll be the case for much longer. Ready Player One opens on December 15, 2017.

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Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter.