Production on writer/director Gavin Hood’s Ender’s Game movie is slated to begin by February 2012; hence why casting for the sci-fi literary adaptation is fully under-way, with Asa Butterfield having already snagged the lead role, Hailee Steinfeld on the verge of securing a pivotal part, and well-renowned veteran stars like Harrison Ford being eyed to portray one of the film’s important (adult) supporting characters.
Reports are in that a different important grown-up (side) role in Ender’s Game may have been filled, by none-other than Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley – who, as it were, appeared onscreen most recently alongside Butterfield in Martin Scorsese’s 3D flick, Hugo.
Based on the award-winning, landmark best-seller by Orson Scott Card, on a futuristic earth, only the best and brightest children are recruited by a government desperate to fight back after an alien attack. When young Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) emerges as a genius strategist, he suddenly becomes humanity’s last and best hope to destroy the alien Formic race.
Heat Vision says that Kingsley is in talks to co-star in Ender’s Game as “a legendary war hero presumed to be long dead.” The character in question is presumably Mazer Rackham, a controversial commander who had been court-martialed twice, prior to his leading a small reserve force to victory against the Formics (or “Buggers”) during their second attempted invasion of Earth – a success tale used as propaganda to convince the people of Earth to support the militaristic International Fleet organization, as they prepare for the third war against the Formics.
To reveal anything more about the role Rackham plays in the plot of Ender’s Game would require venturing into spoiler territory; suffice it to say, he’s a complex character and Kingsley should do more than well in the role.
Card’s source material does set the stage for some striking visuals in the Ender’s Game adaptation, especially with respect to the zero-gravity, three-dimensional simulation rooms that Ender and his fellow students use while training for battle against the Formics. Linda McDonough and Gigi Pritzker of Odd Lot Entertainment (The Spirit) are the principal producers on the project, which is also being co-produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek) through their K/O Paper Products. If nothing else, that seems to assure that Ender’s Game should boast some decent production values and effects work.
On the thematic side of things: the Ender’s Game filmmakers have managed to secure a pretty great cast so far, which bodes well for the final product. Hood is more the wild card here, seeing how his only big-budget production to date is the generally-disliked (but financially-successful) X-Men Origins: Wolverine; though, most would agree, you’d be better off assessing his quality as a director based on his work in smaller, gritty dramas like the Oscar-winning Tsotsi or Rendition.
Ender’s Game remains slated for theatrical release in the U.S. on March 15th, 2013, so expect more casting updates to be announced in the near future.