Throughout the years there’s several examples of actor/director pairings where a director would have his “go-to guy” that he continually cast in every movie; Scorsese with DeNiro and now DiCaprio, Kurosowa with Toshiro Mifune, Woody Allen with Diane Keaton, Spike Lee with Denzel Washington, etc. It appears as though another collaboration could be joining the list as recent Oscar-winner Mark Rylance (for Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies) has been cast in two Spielberg movies, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara and Ready Player One.
Deadline is reporting that Rylance will first be collaborating with Spielberg on The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. The screenplay was written by Tony Kushner (Lincoln) adapted from the novel by David Kertzer. Here’s a description of the novel:
“Bologna, 1858: A police squad, acting on the orders of the Inquisitor, invades the home of a Jewish merchant, Momolo Mortara, wrenches his crying six-year-old son from his arms, and rushes him off in a carriage bound for Rome. His mother is so distraught that she collapses and has to be taken to a neighbor’s house, but her weeping can be heard across the city.
With this terrifying scene — one that would haunt this family forever — David I. Kertzer begins his fascinating investigation of the dramatic kidnapping, and shows how this now obscure saga would eventually contribute to the collapse of the Church’s temporal power in Italy. As Edgardo’s parents desperately search for a way to get their son back, they learn why he–out of all their eight children–was taken.
Years earlier, the family’s Catholic serving girl, fearful that the infant might die of an illness, had secretly baptized him (or so she claimed). Edgardo recovered, but when the story reached the Bologna Inquisitor, the result was his order for Edgardo to be seized and sent to a special monastery where Jews were converted into good Catholics. The Inquisitor’s justification for taking the child was based in Church teachings: No Christian child could be raised by Jewish parents.
The case of Edgardo Mortara became an international cause célèbre. Although such kidnappings were not uncommon in Jewish communities across Europe, this time the political climate had changed. As news of the family’s plight spread to Britain, where the Rothschilds got involved, to France, where it mobilized Napoleon III, and even to America, public opinion turned against the Vatican. Refusing to return the child to his family, Pope Pius IX began to regard the boy as his own child. The fate of this one boy came to symbolize the entire revolutionary campaign of Mazzini and Garibaldi to end the dominance of the Catholic Church and establish a modern, secular Italian state.”
That is not all, however, as Coming Soon is also reporting that Rylance will be playing the role of Donovan Halliday in Ready player One. Halliday is a Howard Hughes-esque reclusive creator of OASIS, a virtual network where users can lead idyllic alternate lives. Rumors back in the summer suggested that Spielberg was trying to lure Gene Wilder out of retirement to play the role. Personally I would have preferred Wilder and could have pictured him playing the character very similar to Willy Wonka, but Rylance has proven himself as a capable actor. Below is a synopsis of Ready Player One courtesy of Coming Soon.
“Set in the near future, Ready Player One follows outcast teenager Wade Watts (Sheridan), who escapes from his bleak surroundings by logging in to the OASIS, a globally networked virtual utopia where users can lead idyllic alternate lives. When eccentric billionaire who created the OASIS dies, he offers up his vast fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt. 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.”
This will be four straight collaborations between the director/actor duo which include Bridge of Spies and this year’s The BFG. What do you think about Mark Rylance joining the cast of The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara and Ready Player One? The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara is expected to have a late 2017 release date (for award season) and Ready Player One has a release date for March 30, 2018.