Hard enough bringing a science fiction novel as beloved, respected, and influential as ENDER’S GAME to the screen — the scenario in which a young boy is groomed for leadership in an interstellar war through a psychological process that both isolates him and nurtures his proclivity for violence would be a challenge for the finest of directors. Then, throw in author Orson Scott Card going on record with some repugnant thoughts about gay rights (which have been disavowed by people involved with the production), and the factors arrayed against success, both within and without the project, are raised exponentially. So it has to be said that director Gavin Hood has accomplished this not-inconsiderable challenge by rallying a respected cast — including Asa Butterfield as reluctant military mastermind Ender Wiggin, plus Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley as the soldiers responsible for turning innocent children into remorseless killers — to an adaptation that, to a great extent, honors the book’s challenging themes. The question remains: Does that make a good film?
And that, it turns out, is a more complicated issue. In the most dramatic divergence of opinion ever heard on the Spotlight, beabetterbooktalker.com‘s Andrea Lipinski joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons to debate what Hood and team have gotten right in this big-budget adaptation, and where they’ve faltered. It’s an energetic, revealing debate about one of the most important tales in science fiction literature, and whether its path to a mainstream audience was a worthy one. Plus: What’s coming to theaters next week.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the script for a film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s SF novel Ender’s Game is making a lot of buzz in filmland.
The script is “packaged” with screenwriter Gavin Hood (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE) attached as director, with STAR TREK’s Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci set to produce, along with OddLot Entertainment’s Gigi Pritzker.
Apparently, almost every studio and a number of film finance companies have received the package, and several follow-up meetings have already been scheduled.
Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel is set on a future Earth, which has barely survived two attacks by the Formics (or Buggers), an insectoid race. To train soliders the Battle and Command schools have been formed where children are immersed in virtual reality “games”, which have greater signifgance than suspected.
The protagonist is Ender Wiggins, a bullied and abused boy, who becomes an unorthodox master of these vital skills, and put on a path towards leading the International Fleet.
A deal was in place at Warner Brothers in the 1990’s to make a movie version of the Hugo and Nebula Award winner, under director Wolfgang Peterson (ENEMY MINE), but production never came to pass.
The article speculates that Warner Bros. might be interested in reacquiring the project, as might Paramount/DreamWorks where Kurtzman and Orci already have strong ties.
According to the L.A. Times, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE director Gavin Hood is delevoping Orson Scott Card’s Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel Ender’s Game as a motion picture.
The 1985 novel has been in development as a feature film on and off for years. In 2009, author Card announced that the project, based on his screenplay, was most likely dead.
Now it appear that independent production company Odd Lot Entertainment has enlisted Gavin Hood to revise Card’s most recent draft, and is tentatively attached as director.
The novel, an expansion of Card’s 1977 short story for Analog Magazine, deals with young Andrew “Ender” Wiggins. He’s made to attend the the Battle School, where children study warfare through various activies, including elaborate simulated wargames against the alien Formics, who have decimated Earth forces. Going on to Command School. Ender wins these battles, destroying the enemy fleets and bases — only to discover that these games were real, as were the deaths on both sides, for which he is ulitmately responsible
Ender Wiggins’s saga in told in the novels Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, and Ender in Exile, which cover a span of over 3000 years.