Oliver Gettell
April 11, 2016 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Steven Spielberg will follow his sci-fi movie Ready Player One with a long-in-the-works religious drama reuniting him with Mark Rylance and Tony Kushner.

EW can confirm that Spielberg’s next film as a director is to be Amblin Entertainment’s The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, with Rylance on board to star and Kushner adapting the the David Kertzer novel for the big screen.

Published in 1997, Kertzer’s book tells the true story of an Italian Jew who became controversial after being taken from his parents in 1858 at age 6, eventually being raised as Catholic and becoming a priest. Spielberg has been eyeing the project since 2008.

Rylance, who recently worked with Spielberg on the Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies and the upcoming Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG, will portray Pope Pius IX. Kushner previously worked with Spielberg on Lincoln and Munich.

Spielberg is producing Edgardo Mortara with Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, and the plan is to shoot in early 2017, in time for an awards season release.

Deadline first reported the news.

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