Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
Gavin Hood‘s adaptation of Orson Scott Card‘s classic sci-fi novel Ender’s Game doesn’t open until November 2013, but the filmmakers are already starting to get the word out about the film. Book and film both center on Ender Wiggin, a young boy enlisted in a military school ostensibly meant to train a new generation of soldiers and officers for a war against an alien race. Asa Butterfield (Hugo) plays Ender, and Harrison Ford is the Colonel who oversees his training. Also in the cast are Abigail Breslin, Sir Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Nonso Anozie and Viola Davis.
In addition to the basic plot outline that sees Ender training against the backdrop of an interstellar war, there’s more to Ender’s Game that makes it a fan favorite, and a potentially tricky adaptation. Without spoiling anything, it’s safe to say that there’s more going on than that superficial description would suggest, and that’s where the real power of the story lies.
We’ve wondered how the adaptation would take shape, and now writer/director Hood and producer Roberto Orci have taken part in a Q&A posted to the production’s ongoing behind the scenes blog. In that batch of questions and answers, there are some details that slightly ratchet up my interest in the film.
We’ve seen some very basic set photos, but they don’t really show us what the film will look like. Asked about visual influences, Orci says,
One thing I can tell you is that Gavin Hood is a gigantic Stanley Kubrick fan, and it shows. And yet, in some of the Zero G battles, things are going on that Kubrick never had a chance to tackle. The technology and advancements in film making available to us allowed us to realize a vision that is totally unique and modern while also being, as Harrison Ford calls it, one of the most emotional science fiction movies he has ever seen.
The next two answers from the production contain what are arguably spoilers for those who haven’t read the book. There’s really nothing huge given away here, but take that as a minor warning before going forward.
Orci also described the core interaction between the film’s two main characters:
The relationship between Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and Ender (Asa Butterfield) is key to the movie’s success. Graff would love nothing more than to be Ender’s friend, yet Graff can’t always show it because he has to make it clear to Ender that in the event of another alien invasion, there will be no one available to help him. Their relationship is simultaneously heartbreaking and fun.
Finally, there’s this note about the general approach to crafting the tone of the film:
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Like the book, the movie Ender’s Game is about young protagonists dealing with one of the most adult situations known to man: WAR. We don’t soft peddle it, yet we don’t shy away from the fun of being in space and learning amazing new skills that we would all want to learn at any age.