Now that Summit has officially settled on a release date for the long-in-development cinematic adaptation of the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning sci-fi novel, Ender's Game, the search is on for an adolescent actor to portray the film's brilliant (but dangerous) eponymous character: Andrew "Ender" Wiggin.
Several underage actors have reportedly met with the project's writer/director, Gavin Hood. However, one thespian is already being touted as having all-but-secured the lead role.
Deadline says the boy in question is 14-year-old Asa Butterfield, who headlines Martin Scorsese's fast-approaching 3D literary adaptation, Hugo. The actor is also well known for his roles in previous films, ranging from funny family-friendly titles like Son of Rambow and Nanny McPhee Returns, to the melancholy Holocaust drama The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and even a small part in Joe Johnston's The Wolfman remake.
Here is an official description of the Ender's Game adaptation:
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 emerges as a genius strategist, he suddenly becomes humanity’s last and best hope to destroy the alien Formic race.
Butterfield has demonstrated himself to be a fairly versatile actor, to date, so he seems likes a worthy candidate to take on the role of Ender. The character (in Card's novel) is pretty much a smorgasbord of unsettling mental elements: he possess the tactical intuition and shrewdness of a veteran soldier, is prone to extreme violent outbursts, has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with his sister (not sexual in nature, though), and finds himself tormented by the thought that he is really just as ruthless as his sadistic brother. It's a complex role, to say the least.
Considering that, back in the early 2000s, the role of Ender was long rumored to belong to The Phantom Menace's Jake Lloyd, fans should just be all the more appreciative that someone like Butterfield is now being eyed for the role.
Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Fringe) are producing Ender's Game, which is a very timely tale for this day and age. As Orci has pointed out, much of the "futuristic" technology on display in Card's novel now actually exists, in some form. The main storyline likewise deals with numerous post-modern themes concerning the effects of technology on our everyday lives and sense of morality. Ender's Game reads as a mashup of elements from works like (odd though it may sound) Lord of the Flies and Starship Troopers, but the film adaptation has the potential to be much more than the sum of its parts.
Hood can't really be faulted too much for how X-Men Origins: Wolverine turned out. Plus, his other significant directorial efforts include the Oscar-winning Tsotsi, a gritty crime drama that also concerns troubled and dangerous youths, and Rendition, an overwrought but well-intentioned thriller with political overtones. So, all in all, he is arguably a decent choice to bring Ender's Game to cinematic life.
Ender's Game is schedule to arrive in theaters around the U.S. on March 15th, 2013.