Gavin Hood Talks ‘Ender’s Game'; New Image with Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield

Published 2 years ago by , Updated December 5th, 2012 at 5:04 pm,

enders game movie adaptation Gavin Hood Talks Enders Game; New Image with Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield

Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game has been called many things (a sci-fi version of Lord of the Flies, the precursor to The Hunger Games, an allegory for the life of Adolf Hitler, and so on), but an easy-to-adapt book is not one of them. Hollywood became serious about bringing Card’s challenging work to the big screen about a decade ago – and next year, it will happen thanks to the efforts of writer-director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

Hood has broken his silence about the difficulties of making Ender’s Game, which include recreating the futuristic settings and sci-fi technology detailed in Card’s book – some of which now either exists or doesn’t seem so far-fetched as when Card wrote about it back in 1985.

Ender’s Game takes place 70 years after the second devastating invasion of Earth by a race of insectoid aliens (which accounts for the frequent comparisons between Card’s novel and Starship Troopers). Humanity prepares for the inevitable third attack by forming an international military academy, where gifted children prepare for combat. Soon, a potential savior emerges in the form of Andrew ‘Ender’ Wiggin (Asa Butterfield, Hugo): a brilliant boy who doesn’t fully grasp his own capacity for destruction and bloodshed.

Not surprisingly, changes have been made for the movie adaptation – specifically, with regard to the age of the Battle School recruits, who are older and portrayed by more experienced adolescent actors.

Here’s what Hood told EW about that deviation from Card’s source material:

“I discussed this at length with Orson. The decision was made very early on to compress the time period into about a year, so that we could have the same actor from beginning to end… We were trying to hit that sweet spot right around 12, which Asa fits in very nicely.”

Obviously, that decision was in part motivated by practical concerns; that is, adolescent actors tend to be more experienced and easier to work with than child stars. However, if the cast is too old, that weakens the horrifying aspect of Card’s original book – namely, kids being (in essence) brain-washed to become killing machines. On that count, Hood appears to have reached a good compromise point by recruiting people who are (and look) quite young still, such as Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit).

enders game ford butterfield image Gavin Hood Talks Enders Game; New Image with Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield

Harrison Ford (pictured above, opposite Butterfield as Ender) costars in Ender’s Game as Col. Hyrum Graff, Ender’s grizzled superior who shrewdly watches over and occasionally interferes (or, rather, does not interfere) with his student’s day-to-day living. Hood offered the following, about the dynamic between the two:

“The relationship between [Harrison] and Asa was very close, but he didn’t overly befriend him off the set. He helped Asa by allowing that slight sense of intimidation to be there.”

Ender forms a less-volatile relationship with the war hero Mazer Rackham, who is being brought to life by Butterfield’s Hugo costar Ben Kingsley; hence, it’s reasonable to expect the actors’ real-world connection should likewise be reflected in their onscreen interactions. That could also hold true for the other young cast members and adult players, like Viola Davis (The Help) as a psychologist who oversees the emotional welfare of students.

So, overall, the casting for this film seems pretty solid. Moreover, Ender’s Game is something that Hood has been working on for some four years – and, unlike with Wolverine, there haven’t been any reports of production problems, creative control clashes, etc. That’s all to say: the final result of his labor should prove to be more rewarding (artistically, that is) than Hood’s notorious X-Men prequel.

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

Source: EW

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  1. Havent heard any news on this film in a while.

  2. I read the Ender’s Saga books… this seems to be shaping up into a pretty good movie just going off of who’s involved.

  3. He looks like Steve Martin

  4. So excited for this. Ender’s Game is one of my favorite books of all time, rocked my world. Trust Hood even though “Wolverine” was embarrassing. the amount of time they’ve spent on it is a good sign. Butterfield is perfect, chilling and emotional in Hugo.

  5. This was my favorite book growing up and I can’t wait to see it. I am really worried that us not seeing a younger Ender will hurt the overall movie, because so much of the story is about the experiences Ender has when he is so young and watching him develop from said experiences.
    I personally would have rather seen someone who makes more visually stunning works be at the helm, as opposed to Gavin Hood. I just don’t want this to be a blockbuster movie, cause that is not what it is. It should be “cool” and not “epic”, and I am not sure Hood can do that. But I am certainly cheering for him. Also, I agree with you that the casting decisions are excellent.

  6. Never heard of these books, but read up on the synopsis of them. pretty interesting stuff. Has a look like The Hunger Games to me. ( Which I haven’t saw or plan to. Chick flicks is not my thing…unless it’s porn )

    • THE HUNGER GAMES was not a “chick flick.” Nor was the book only for girls.

      • Well…if you say so….still not watching the Hunger games, probably as bad as that Twilight crap.

        • For whatever it’s worth, I still have not read or watched any of the Twilight material (I don’t mind “chick” stuff at all; I’m just no intested in Twilight), but I did read the Hunger Games finally, plan on watching the film, and I would think that anyone could enjoy it regardless of gender, etc. It is largely about one-on-one warfare.

        • The only similarity between The Hunger Games and Twilight are the fact that there is a love triangle at one point. And a love triangle doesnt exactly make it a chick flick. That said, it wasnt an AMAZING movie, but it was good. I would definitely recommend the book. It is a great read.

        • Actually, The “Hunger Games” series was infinitely better than the “Twilight” books, and the first film was much better than the entire series of dreck “Twilight” movies. You don’t have to like it or even read or watch it, but you really should not judge it without the slightest notion of the material.

    • I have read and seen “The Hunger Games” and have read “Enders Game”. Comparing the two is apples and dragon fruit. The only thing they have in common is children.

      • I thought The Hunger Games movie was vastly overrated. How It Should Have Ended perfectly illustrated the gaping plot holes in it. Haven’t read the book, though. Been thinking about checking it out. I just hope the story in the book isn’t as dumb as the movie.

        • Well, you and I differ in our opinion of the film, but at least, you have a standard by which to formulate your opinion legitimately instead of simply assuming it’s something it’s not.

    • uh… The Hunger games is actually pretty damn awesome aand is no where near “chick flick” material, I really dont see how you got that idea of it. I really enjoyed the movie because it focused more on the games than the love aspect and I hope it continues that way :p I have faith Catching Fire will be just as good if not better. And the last book is basically an all out war book so the two movies are going to be amazing!

      Now about Ender’s game it is my friends favorite book so I suppose its really good Ill give this a try :)

  7. I read Ender’s Game 15+ years ago, and while it was decent or good, I did not love it. But I’m aware that it is highly thought of, and it looks like there is a great cast, so I’m excited for the film. I hope that it has nothing in common with Hood’s Wolverine film; that was one of the worst things that I’ve ever seen. (Except for Lynn Collins, of course.)

  8. Hrm removing the fact that Ender was a Kindergartener when the whole thing started really takes away the edge. I read this book to all my 8th graders and when they figured out the age of Ender and everyone else it really bothered them. That was the starting point of deeper talks into the characters and the drive to survive. They loved it. I’m sure this movie will be good but… part of the true horror will be gone.

  9. I was skeptical of this at first, and still am, however Life of Pi one of my other favorite books was adapted into a pretty good movie so maybe there is some hope. I really want to see a trailer

  10. This guy still owes me for Wolverine.

  11. I haven’t read the book in a while. Does anyone remember a “psychologist overlooking the mental health of the children?” Sounds more like PC arm-wrenching to me again.

  12. Good book…sequel “Speaker For The Dead” was better.

  13. I too read Enders Game many years ago. actually the whole series. At that time there was a game called Photon using light guns to disable your opponents. I used some of the tech. in the book to play the game and it worked well. (people I blasted hated it) but it worked lol. Speaker for the dead was very good. I wonder who will play his sister.

  14. You don’t have to brainwash kids to become “killing machines.” You have to brainwash them to become mature adults.

    • Ah, but you do have to teach how to be genocidal in the name of winning before you see that result. I hope you read the book.

  15. Gavin Hood is an overrated director who is in a genre in which he is out of his technical depth. Wolverine was shambolic and an utter disappointment given the budget.

  16. I have read ender’s game, but I did not love it.