‘Ender’s Game’: Asa Butterfield Interview & New Zero-Gravity Battleroom Image

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enders game interview image Enders Game: Asa Butterfield Interview & New Zero Gravity Battleroom Image

This year, Orson Scott Card’s Nebula and Hugo Award-winning 1985 novel Ender’s Game is finally being brought to the big screen by Tsotsi writer and director Gavin Hood. Asa Butterfield plays Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a misfit child who is bullied by his peers at school and tormented by his brother at home, and later selected for enrolment at the prestigious Battle School, a military training academy located on an orbiting space station.

The school collects together the best and brightest young children from all around the world, taking them away from their families from as young as four or five years old, and trains them daily to become the next generation of military leaders, in order to defend from a second invasion of an aggressive alien race called the Formics. In Card’s novel, the Formics went by the rather unfortunate nickname “the Buggers,” though it’s possible that Hood dropped that label when writing the screenplay.

Though the children of Battle School take regular classes as part of their schedule, the students are largely graded in their performance in the “game” at the center of their lives – a tactical strategy battle simulation that takes place in a zero-gravity room, where members of each army have laser pistols to shoot each other with and use floating constructs for cover, to help prepare them for the reality of space battle. In an interview with Empire, Butterfield gives an idea of how the battleroom and games will function in Hood’s film:

“It was really good fun. But yeah, wearing harnesses for nine hours, by the end of the day you’re glad to get out of them. It’s really tiring staying up there. And the chafing… it’s exactly as you might imagine. All through rehearsals we would spend an hour each day on the wires. And then we spent a month and a half shooting the scenes. There was plenty of time flying around.

“There’s a really cool sequence where I’m sort of spinning over backwards and I let go of my guns. They’re floating by my side just going along. As I push myself through these two stars, I spin back over and grab the guns, then shoot the people around me. I loved doing that.

“[The battleroom uniform is] called a flash suit. It looks incredible, but wearing it was pretty uncomfortable, because they were tight and thick and didn’t give you all that much movement. It’s like wearing three wetsuits and then putting on body armour over that. We had a few versions: a normal one, and then a slightly bigger one which let you wear a harness underneath. You wouldn’t want to wear one for more than an hour.”

The interview is accompanied by a brand new image from the movie, showing Ender wearing that uncomfortably harnessed flash suit in the battleroom as Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) watches over him.


Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford in the battleroom of Enders Game 280x170 Enders Game: Asa Butterfield Interview & New Zero Gravity Battleroom Image

Given how much of the plot of the book concerns Ender’s rise through the ranks of Battle School and his performance in the game, there will hopefully be quite a few scenes taking place in the battleroom. There was a small glimpse of some battle sequences shown in the trailer, but not enough to get a good idea of how exactly the zero-gravity setting will be exploited.

In the book, many of the children have trouble to adjusting to the fact that the gravity outside the door does not apply once inside the battleroom, and subsequently continue to think in only two dimensions. There are plenty of ways that this sense of disorientation could be conveyed through deft camerawork, so hopefully when more battle footage is released we’ll find Hood convincingly creating a zero-gravity effect.

Remember, everyone: the enemy’s gate is down.


Ender’s Game opens in U.S. theaters on November 1st, 2013.

Source: Empire

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. If Asa Butterfield is going to be flexing his nostrils in every scene like in Hugo, then I want nothing to do with this movie.

    • Oh boy, fanboys have taking their stubbornness to the next level of intensity.

      • If I was an Orson Scott Card “fanboy” I would be going to see this movie no matter what.

        But I’m not an OSC fanboy. I read Ender’s Game and it’s sequel, Speaker For The Dead. They’re just ok. It’s Sci Fi written for teenage boys. If I had read them at 14 I would have been thrilled. I got around to them when I was in my 20′s, but only because of the awards. Does this sound like a fanboy?

        I’m NOT a fan of Asa Butterfield after watching his bizarre nostril flexing in Hugo. I’d heard about how amazing the 3D was for Hugo. Paid the up charge…. and yes, the 3D was amazing, but I got treated to Asa’s nasal spazz emoting in high definition on a giant screen in 3D. It was very distracting for me to say the least. It should be a drinking game….. every nasal flex….. take a shot. You’d be unconscious before 20 minutes of the film had gone by.

        • I just have to say, I think it’s very strange that you actually read Speaker for the Dead and decided it was sci-fi for teenage boys. If you really thought so little of Ender’s Game, why on Earth would you waste your time reading its sequel? You should have cut your losses and moved on, regardless of how many awards you thought might make a good decision for you.

          • WF above… called me fanboy. My comment about Orson Scott Card as an author is in response to that.

            I said the books were ok. I had a friend at the time, a fellow Sci Fi geek, who really loves the books and got me to read them. I didn’t hate Ender’s. I just didn’t love it.

            I read a LOT. Even books that are a challenge to get through….. Sometimes it pays off, like Ulysses by James Joyce, it’s hard but it’s worth it. Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead would be a good distraction for a plane trip….. but I wouldn’t recommend the books.

            My main point was Asa Butterfield’s over active proboscis.

  2. Ford i must say looks pretty good for his age hopefully he can pull off his return as Han Solo in the next Star Wars.

  3. Most of the Card controversy has been over his homophobia. It’s equally disturbing that he
    called for the overthrow of the US government by any means possible.

  4. Given his social and political stance I will not be seeing this.