Posted on Thursday, April 28th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
Ender’s Game is a property that has been in development for what seems like forever. The last big attempt to make the film started in 2002 when Warner Bros. optioned it and eventually set Wolfgang Petersen to direct. That version died in 2009, at which point Odd Lot picked up the option and eventually hired Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, Wolverine) to script. At the beginning of this year Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci added their clout to the effort.
Now Summit has signed on to co-finance and distribute a film based on the Gavin Hood script, and has set him to direct as well.
Deadline positions the deal as having roots in Summit’s desire for a franchise to replace the waning Twilight. And that’s probably at least partially correct, as the Orson Scott Card novel Ender’s Game is the first in a series of books that have a big sci-fi fanbase. And the characters, especially in this first chapter, are young — so the film could be a rival to films like The Hunger Games.
As Germain said in September, the novel “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.” There’s a big twist at the end which puts the whole story into a new pespective, but for those few people who don’t know what the truth of the story is I’ll let someone else spoil it.
But the crux is that core of the novel has the intersection of children and the military, and that’s is loaded, potentially touchy subject matter. Which makes it potentially great, but I really want to see Gavin Hood’s script to see how he’s handled it.
The film will be sold to other territories at Cannes, and Gavin Hood is putting together a presentation to show while in France. With that movement underway, we could potentially start to hear casting information sooner rather than later.