Ben Kingsley in Talks to Join HUGO Co-Star Asa Buttefield in ENDER’S GAME

     December 8, 2011

Casting on director Gavin Hood’s (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game continues to heat up, as Ben Kingsley is the latest to join the cast. Heat Vision reports that Kingsley is in talks to star in the sci-fi pic as “a legendary war hero presumed to be long dead.” The story centers on a young man who develops military strategies through war games in an attempt to prepare for an intergalactic battle. Kingsley’s Hugo co-star Asa Butterfield is set as the title character, with Hailee Steinfeld attached as the female lead. Harrison Ford is being courted to play Colonel Hyrum Graff, though no official dealmaking with the actor has taken place.

I’m not familiar with the book, but I’m told that Heat Vision’s description of Kingsley’s character sounds like Mazer Rackham, a soldier whose major previous victory is used as propaganda. While I’m still not sold on Hood, the cast being assembled continues to impress me. Production is set to get underway in February, so expect more casting announcements very soon. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the novel. Ender’s Game opens March 15th, 2013.

enders-game-book-coverHere’s the synopsis for Ender’s Game:

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 the world survives, that is. [Amazon]


  • Strong Enough

    Hood the dude that did X-Men Origins?yea the movie is f*cked

    • Kofi

      Yes, he did the Wolverine movie but he didn’t write that movie but he did write and direct “Tsotsi” which is fantastic and won an Oscar for best foreign language film. So their is still hope for this.

      • News Hit

        Tsotsi is O.K. In fact, it may be the most OK film ever made: thoughtful, humanist and very middle-brow. I am surprised that Hood has been asked to direct these very technically challenging productions because it seems his strengths is in low-key, character driven drama than complicated storytelling or special effects.

  • ShinobiJedi

    I was thinking more of Patrick Stewart as Mazer, but I take that back. Kingsley is actually a much better choice. He has more of an old, seasoned soldier look and attitude about him. Stewart has that, but not to the same level. Also, Kingsley would be better suited for the mentor role than Stewart.

  • Scott Brooks

    I have this movie at home, I hope this is what you mean, it’s really good to me personally.

  • SP

    Bad choice. Kingsly is a fine actor, but wrong for the part in question. There are some fine actors from New Zealand, who would be more fitting as the Maori Mazer Rackham. The role also requires a certain charm and mischievousness that the stern looking Kingsly can’t naturally pull off. Mazer Rackham is sort of like Yoda in human form. He should be a wily, old man. Robert Duvall, David Carradine, Edward James Almos, or Dean Stockwell, are more in the right direction for the character’s personality. Those are just off the top of my head. Michael Cain and Malcom Mcdowell are two more.

    • RogerBacon

      I was initially going to object to your post because I think Kingsley could do a fine Mazer, but then I looked at your list of possible others and had a revelation. Olmos would be amazing. Interesting point about the Maori thing, I had forgotten about that. Who did you have in mind? Cliff Curtis?

      • SP

        Maybe Cliff Curtis. I’m pretty sure I have seen some good older Maori actors, but because I don’t get to see NZ films or actors very often, I can’t recall exactly who I am thinking of.

        I also figured that the studio wants to give the character of Mazer the weight that a name actor could bring, seeing as there are only a few adult roles in the story, and though his part is brief, it is important.

        I think it would be great if they were faithful to the book and found the best Maori actor but, the most important aspect of the character is his personality, which I don’t think Kingsly is a match for. Kingsly can certainly act as the character is supposed to act, but good casting usually finds someone who is already similar to the character, so they can be natural, and add the subtext into their own nature. I just see Kingsly as a different “type”. Edward James Almos is probably my first choice too. I have little doubt he would knock it out of the ballpark.

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  • Tarek

    Name just one good movie starring Kingsley, since Schindler’s list (1993).

    • Dan

      Sexy Beast, House of Sand & Fog and Shutter Island…to name just 3….

  • Dave Trumbore

    Rene Naufahu or Nathaniel Lees would have been great in this role, but they’re probably counting on the chemistry from Kingsley/Butterfield in Hugo to carry over.

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