The seemingly ubiquitous sci-fi writing duo Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were busy promoting Cowboys and Aliens at WonderCon this past weekend. That didn’t stop the pair (or at least Orci) from talking a bit about one of their more anticipated projects currently in development: an adaptation of Ender’s Game, scripted by Wolverine helmer Gavin Hood.
Kurtzman and Orci became associated with the project when they began shopping Hood’s screenplay around a few months back. Given the (put simply) difficult subject matter of Orson Scott Card’s original source material, it’s not too surprising that an Ender’s Game movie has been slow to develop.
Orci chatted with io9 briefly on the subject of adapting Ender’s Game and said the following:
“The hardest part is adapting a classic novel faithfully. And I think before, people were trying to get too clever with ['Ender's Game'] and change things that didn’t need to be changed. Gavin Hood wrote an amazing script that is extremely faithful to the book, including the twists in it and the themes in it. And I think that will be the difference to getting it made.”
For those unfamiliar with Card’s original book, Ender’s Game takes place in the future when Earth has been attacked twice by a deadly extraterrestrial race called the Formics (or “Buggers,” due to their insectoid appearance). Young Andrew “Ender” Wiggins is one of numerous brilliant kids that are trained and prepped for combat against the inevitable third Formic invasion.
Ender and his peers essentially participate in complex military games in Card’s 1985 novel, which Orci feels is definitely an idea that should resonate with people today:
“Our own military is now training on video games, and they can pilot remote weaponry from anywhere in the United States or anywhere in the world. So already the idea of we’re already controlling weapons of war through games and how that’s desensitizing people… [That] is one of the themes of the book, it was way ahead of its time. I read it in ’85 there’s Internet in it, there’s blogging, there’s ipads. It’s a really advanced book, and it’s still relevant.”
While I’ve mentioned in the past that Ender’s Game contains a fair amount of graphic material that makes it less-than-friendly to a film adaptation, Card’s novel doesn’t quite lend itself to an R-Rated movie to the same degree that, say, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo does. Some issues – like the amount of underage nudity in the book – can be easily overcome, but an Ender’s Game film will inevitably have to feature a healthy dose of child-on-child violence and brutality (think Lord of the Flies).
There’s also the requisite effects for recreating the book’s action, especially the elaborate zero-gravity training sequences that Ender and his peers endure. While Hood shares some of the blame for the Wolverine prequel having turned out as poorly as it did, general consensus is that he didn’t have a whole lot of creative control on that project. Combine his gained experience from making that film with Kurtzman and Orci’s good standing in Hollywood, and there’s reason to be hopeful that Hood could do something more creative with Ender’s Game.
We’ll keep you posted on the status of Ender’s Game – including when it gets officially picked up by a studio – as more information is released.