HUGO Star Asa Butterfield Offered the Lead in ENDER’S GAME

     November 17, 2011

With the recent release date of March 15, 2013 set by Summit Entertainment, it looks like Ender’s Game is finally becoming a big-screen reality. And now, the role of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin has been offered to 14-year-old Asa Butterfield (Hugo). Directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), the Odd Lot Entertainment adaptation of the classic novel by Orson Scott Card involves young Ender caught up in an intergalactic conflict between Earth and an alien force. Recruited as a child soldier, Ender learns battle tactics through the use of anti-gravity games equipped with nothing but his jumpsuit and his wits. Hit the jump for more on Butterfield and Ender’s Game. [Update: We now have details on who will be handling the art direction and costume design for the film. Info is included after the jump]

enders-game-book-coverDeadline reports that Butterfield has been offered the role of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. Butterfield has had previous roles in 2007’s Son of Rambow, as well as 2010’s The Wolfman and Nanny McPhee Returns. As we mentioned, he can next be seen in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo when it releases on November 23rd. (In a fun coincidence, Card’s novel was the recipient of the Hugo Award for the 1985’s best science fiction work.)

Produced by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the team behind Star Trek 2 and Cowboys & Aliens, Ender’s Game is a much anticipated adaptation that has been a long time coming. Keep up to date with all our Ender’s Game news here.

[Update]: Now that we have a face to put with the name “Ender,” we can start to wonder what the world, the Battle School and the flash suits will look like. Variety (via previously reported that costume designer Christine Bieselin Clark (300) and art director Sean Haworth (TRON: Legacy) have joined the creative team. Clark previously worked under director Gavin Hood on X-Men Origins: Wolverine but has also designed costumes for TRON: Legacy and Watchmen. Haworth has been an art director on projects ranging from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Transformers to Avatar. What do you think, Ender’s Game fans, can their vision match up with your imagination?

Check out the synopsis from Card’s novel below:

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives. [Amazon]

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  • James

    I couldn’t care less about the casting because with the director chosen by the studio we are guaranteed a mediocre film. One of the best sci-fi novels of the past century, and the movie is already a disappointment. F*** you, Hollywood.

  • Bonobo

    Indeed an uphill battle with that director…. also, isn’t a 14 year old (most likely at least 15 when they start shooting) pushing it a bit?

  • SP

    Weak director for such an important novel. Too bad they couldn’t get someone like the guy who directed the third Harry Potter Film and the Secret Garden. That guy knows how to work with kids, and has style. As far as the age of the kids, it makes sense to make them older than the novel. Doing the novel literally in that respect would be a mistake. Not only are there virtually no six-year-old actors capable of carrying the level of drama that these genius kids are involved in, it would also look as ridiculous as it sounds on screen with little kids doing action movie stunts (Three Ninjas anyone). Even the brilliant novel’s credibility is a bit strained in this respect.

    The more realistic, and naturalistic they make the film, the better it will be. With this director, I think it will be just a popcorn flick despite the source material that could be something more significant in more capable hands. This film has been delayed many times, why not delay it again until the stars are aligned a little better?

    • Tarek

      Alfonso Cuaron ?

      I would also suggest Robert Zemeckis, Sir Ridley Scott or David Lynch

      • SP

        Thanks, I was too lazy to look up the name. Cuaron also directed Children of Men, which had a lot of strong drama and action, though not a faithful adaptation of the novel.

        Anyhow, I was going to mention David Lynch, but thought most people would not get it. Also, some think he went too far in changing Dune, but I like what he did overall. He definitely gave the world a unique look, which I think Ender could use. I also left Lynch out of my comment because I have a feeling he wouldn’t do a movie with kids and no sex. Zemeckis would fit the bill, though he might be a bit too conventional. Ridley Scott is a great director, but I’ve never seen him handle an angst-ridden, coming of age story like Ender’s Game. The story is a little more up close and personal than he typically gets with his characters. He also seems to have a lot on his plate with the new Blade Runner project.

        That said, I would take any of the mentioned directors and a dozen others over Gavin Hood. I’m hoping the project gets delayed, and then the schedules don’t work out with Hood, because he’s directing G.I. Joe part 5, or Transformers Part 7.

  • SP

    While I’m waxing on Ender’s Game, I might add that the more the movie is based on Ender, and less on Bean, the better it will be. The movie should be a one-shot, so setting it up for Bean’s convoluted future “adventures” will hurt the film. Ender’s further adventures are good novels, but would be a hard sell commercially, and the Bean books are Card’s equivalent of the Star Wars Prequels, full of plot holes illogical characterizations and missed opportunities. Card has written many fantastic books that could be good movies or TV series, but the Ender’s Game franchise only has the one story that will translate into a good movie, so make it count.

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  • David

    What’s the big deal with Hood? The guy directed one film, and because he’s doing another one, he’s going to make it bad? Come on.

  • GBS

    I’ll sit this one out. Author Orson Scott Card is a right-wing extremist bigot who claims people should overthrow the government if gay marriage becomes legal. Why would I put more $ into his hateful nutjob’s pocket?

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