Meet the young geeks who comprise the High Five in Steven Spielberg’s epic sci-fi adventure Ready Player One, opening in cinemas nationwide today. They are Wade/Parzival, Samantha/Art3mis, Helen/Aech, Toshiro/Daito and Zhou/Sho.
The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the Oasis, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the Oasis, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.
The quest becomes much more than a treasure hunt, as Wade and his friends, collectively called the High Five, come to discover there is something more important than money at stake.
Wade/Parzival. Wade’s a smart but somewhat disenfranchised young man who is in a very unhappy place in his life. His only personal satisfaction comes in trying to win Halliday’s contest in the Oasis.
Helen/Aech. Parzival’s closest, and distinctly largest, friend is the towering Aech, whom Lena Waithe identifies as “part human, part machine.” Aech is well known in the Oasis as a top-rated mechanic who can build or fix just about anything.”
Samantha/Art3mis. Named for the Greek goddess of the hunt, Art3mis is something of a legend for her kickass style of play. “Art3mis is tough, fearless and very driven, so she seems a bit cutthroat in that sense,” says Olivia Cooke, who stars as Art3mis.
Toshiro/Daito. Win Morisaki plays Daito, a powerful Japanese Samurai warrior who is supremely skilled with a sword and in martial arts. He is the avatar of a very zen young man named Toshiro.
Zhou/Sho. Newcomer Philip Zhao plays the role of Sho, a tough ninja fighter, whose real-world name is Zhou and whose age comes as a surprise to his friends. The young actor won the role over hundreds of other young hopefuls in an open casting call when his father sent in a video of him in action.
“For me, it’s always great to work with young actors, so I had the most fun casting Tye, Olivia, Lena, Win and Philip,” Spielberg says. “They were able to take their characters and make them into something even beyond what’s on the page, and that’s always what I look for.”