If you are reading this site and haven’t read Ender’s Game, you should go out and do that right now. Seriously. I mean, it’s a precursor to so many books, video games and movies that we cover it would be futile to try and list them all. Unfortunately, though, this seminal work has always had a tough time finding its legs in Hollywood. But there’s a chance that might be changing.
Ender’s Game, an award winning 1985 sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card is the story of a a boy nicknamed Ender who, at a very young age, is chosen to go into space for Battle School. Battle School is a place where adults train gifted children to be military leaders for an imminent war using zero gravity war games, interactive digital simulations and a whole bunch of cold-blooded precision and aggression. Wolfgang Petersen was attached to direct a film version for several years before that finally died and now it seems Gavin Hood, the director of Tsotsi and X-Men Origins: Wolverine has rewritten a script that Card himself wrote and is developing the project to direct. Hit the jump for more.
24 Frames, a blog by the Los Angeles Times, broke the story of Hood’s involvement and say that he’s actively developing the project with a production company called Odd Lot Entertainment. They wisely point out that he’s uniquely suited for this property because of his experience working both with young kids, in Tsotsi, and with big budget action, in Wolverine.
I remain skeptical though. Logistics and the incredibly young age of the complex characters in the story have always made Ender’s Game a tough sell. First of all, kids can only be on set for a limited amount of hours during the day, which would be highly problematic considering the expensive and intricate special effects scenes that would surely be needed. Then, in that same limited time, actors as young as 6 would have to portray lead characters with deep psychological issues while simultaneously carrying a movie with very few adult characters. Then there’s controversy that always follows the story because of its use of violence and pro-military angle, especially featuring young children. So it’s no wonder this downer sci-fi film starring a bunch of pre-teens who can only work a few hours a day has never made it in on film, even if the story is brilliant.
As a huge Ender’s Game fan, I just want to see the thing get made in as respectful a manner as possible. If it can’t be made right, don’t make it at all. Card apparently thinks his work can be adapted without major special effects, but I feel that would rob the work of its unique and imaginative excitement.
So is Gavin Hood a good match for Ender’s Game? Are you guys fans of the series? Should they incorporate Ender’s Shadow into the film as well? Will this movie EVER get made? Let’s discuss. Either way, news that this property might not be dead is good news.