After many long years of tortured development, production is actually, finally underway on the live-action cinematic adaptation of Ender’s Game under the direction of Gavin Hood (Wolverine). Asa Butterfield (Hugo) stars as young Ender Wiggin, an unusually talented child who’s drafted into an elite military program that trains children to fight against an alien race called the Formics.

Considering how beloved the source material by Orson Scott Card is and how long readers have been waiting to see it hit the big screen, Hood and company have some seriously high expectations to live up to. While it’ll be some time before we find out just how the movie version compares, early set photos offer hints of what we’re in for. Hit the jump to check ‘em out.

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The Bridesmaids ladies aren’t the only female ensemble cast enjoying a well-deserved career boost this awards season. Hours after we reported that Octavia Spencer had signed on for Bong Joon-ho’s post-apocalyptic thriller Snow Piercer, Spencer’s The Help co-star Viola Davis has booked supporting roles in Gavin Hood‘s sci-fi flick Ender’s Game and Richard LaGravenese‘s fantasy adaptation Beautiful Creatures. Read more after the jump.

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Casting on the long-gestating adaptation of Orson Scott Card‘s sci-fi YA novel Ender’s Game has been falling into place over the past month, with Asa Butterfield (Hugo) signed on for the lead role and Hailee Steinfeld and Ben Kingsley in talks to join as well. Now Canadian teen star Brendan Meyer has boarded the project in the role of Stilson, a classmate who bullies Ender. Meyer is best known for his lead role in the Canadian series Mr. Young, which follows a child prodigy who graduates college at 14 and returns to his high school as a science teacher.

Gavin Hood will direct the film from his own script, about a gifted boy who is drafted into a special military program that trains children to fight against an alien species called the Formics. Ender’s Game will begin shooting early next year for a March 2013 release. [The Hollywood Reporter]

After the jump, Tom Wilkinson gets some help in Disney’s The Lone Ranger.

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‘Hugo’ – What Did You Think?

If I had to imagine the results of a quick exit poll, I really don’t know how I’d expect responses to Martin Scorsese‘s latest movie, Hugo, to fall. The director’s first ‘family’ film is an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and, on the surface at least, tells the story of a young boy’s attempt to live in the roof of a train station in ’30s Paris. The boy, Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is trying to repair a curious automaton that is the last relic of his father, and in so doing discovers tales of the earliest days of cinema.

Hugo has a very impressive use of 3D that makes perhaps the best argument yet for the format, and expresses such a love for early cinema that some scenes within may be the most irresistible stuff to parade in front of the eyes of film nerds this season. But it isn’t uniformly as magnificent as some of the best scenes, and it isn’t the sort of family film that audiences are expecting to see. So let us know: what did you think about Hugo? Read More »

It’s not a bad week to be 14-year-old Asa Butterfield. He’s the star of a brand new Martin Scorsese movie, Hugo, that hits screens in less than a week and he’s just landed one of the most coveted child roles in recent memory. He’ll play Ender Wiggin, the child prodigy, military leading star of Ender’s Game directed by Gavin Hood. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Hugo represents unfamiliar territory for Martin Scorsese, being both his first family film and his first 3D project, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the movie. The legendary director has crafted a charming piece of all-ages entertainment that’s absolutely stunning in its use of live-action 3D — even in the unfinished version I saw, a work in progress with visible green screens, some very rough CG, and a temporary sound mix. This is the kind of work filmmakers are talking about when they insist it isn’t just a cheesy, money-grabbing gimmick, but a true next step in cinematic technology, because this is the kind of movie that’s actually worth shelling out the extra bucks and dealing with those uncomfortable disposable glasses for. Read on after the jump.

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Over the past week there has been word that a major film would have a surprise showing tonight at the New York Film Festival. This morning the film was revealed as Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo, which will be shown as a ‘work in progress’ print.

The film is Scorsese’s adaptation of the young adult book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, and it marks the director’s first foray into family films and 3D. To mark the occasion of the film’s debut, Paramount has released a two-minute featurette in which the director enthuses (with his characteristic energy) about the project. Check it out below. Read More »

Trailers abound this week! But with a bumper crop that includes Contagion, The Thing, John Carter, Pirates!, and soon The Dark Knight Rises, who’s complaining?

Now here is the beautiful trailer for Martin Scorsese‘s new film Hugo. As we’ve said so many times before, it is his first 3D film, and his first family-oriented movie. (Or, his first movie for the traditional family, rather than for the Family.) It is invigorating to see a master like Martin Scorsese turn his tricks to some classic tropes of the family film. When Sacha Baron Cohen, playing a zealous Parisian train station guard, chases Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz, it’s like some strange combination of the Keystone Kops and Home Alone. And while many fantasy-oriented family films try for ‘beautiful’ and merely end up with ‘shiny,’ there are truly lovely sights here. Hugo looks like a 3D film to be actually excited for. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

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