Gavin Hood is Playing ENDER’S GAME

     September 20, 2010


An adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel Ender’s Game has been taking the scenic route around development hell over the last decade.  Wolfgang Petersen (Poseidon) was attached to direct, but his connection to the project dissolved over the last couple years.  Now,a new director has taken up the task: Gavin Hood.

You may know Hood best as the man behind the determinedly awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or perhaps you prefer to remember him as the writer/director of Oscar winner Tsotsi.  Maybe you’re Reese Witherspoon, and you remember that he coached you in Rendition.  No matter which you pick, he’s not an obvious match for the material.  More after the jump:

director_gavin_hood_on_the_set_of_rendition_lEnder’s Game is near and dear to my heart.  It was my Harry Potter, if that makes sense.  There are so many reasons why a direct film adaptation wouldn’t work without even getting into the chronological nightmares of the series as franchise material.  And that just makes me want to see this even more, especially with Card’s tacit approval by way of direct input.  A radically different cinematic adaptation could be a visually spectacular companion piece to the books.

I didn’t like Tsotsi, though the South African crime drama has its fans.  And Wolverine was depressingly insipid, but the rumor mill suggests we ought to cut Hood some slack as a fresh director chewed up and spit out by 20th Century Fox.  So Hood doesn’t exactly get me excited, but I can think of worse options.  Probably an upgrade from Petersen, to be honest.

According to 24 Frames, Hood may not direct the film, though he’s developing the adaptation under such a title.  Hood finished a rewrite on the most recent script, written by Card himself.  Can’t think of any reason that will benefit the film.

I haven’t seen Let Me In yet.  But from what I’ve heard, I’m pretty sure I want a Matt Reeves-directed Ender’s Game.  The man can direct action and children, a hard combination to come by.  Chloe Moretz could be Valentine.

For fellow fans, who would be your ideal choice to fill the director’s chair?  Am I being too hard on Hood?

The synopsis for Card’s 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, that is, the world survives.  [Amazon]

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  • Bill Graham

    Oooh, great point about Matt Reeves. And Chloe would be perfect as Valentine, or maybe one of the children in Speaker for the Dead.

  • Notinvein06

    This is terrible. This material has the potential to be a seminal piece of cinema if given the right direction. Reeves may be a wise choice, but we will have to see Let Me In to see how powerfully he can navigate a story with such power. I personally would choose a more veteran established director to take on the story.

  • Bigfiction

    Ender’s Game has a sci-fi pedigree to match the brain, brawn and spectacle that some of the best ever entries in the genre have offered. All of the pieces for a great film are largely taken care of on the page and I believe that with less than genius craftsmanship the movie could be fantastic, but in the hands of someone with that particular touch that can make the whole thing feel authentic, and ambitious, it could be a real feat in the genre. Gavin Hood may have been boned by Fox with Origins but there is no room for a yes man behind the lens on an Ender’s Game adaptation, not with it’s dramatic sensibilities and reliance on character. It’s a psychological thriller/ survival story, without that atmosphere the story will unwind and all the brilliant and original story elements will be unsatisfying. I like the idea of someone taking the helm with an indie background, but who do you find that can build off the standards that Duncan Jones and Neil Blomkamp have established in the last year? Tomas Alfredson, since you brought up Let the Right One In, sorta, I could see. Hood just isn’t a inspired choice and I would prefer they go off the wall instead of playing it blah. How about Danny Boyle, can you imagine those battle room scenes? Curon? Or even Jones or Blomkamp?! Surely in today’s production climate some of the heavy hitters would be interested in stepping up to the plate with a solid piece of beloved storytelling and a built in fan base.

    I’m a first time poster and may have gone overboard here. I have had this project on my mind for awhile, it is good to see life in it again after Peterson left. Absolutely, for the better I think. I appreciate you guys staying on top of it and hope you continue to.

    Bryan Cranston for Mazer!!!
    Philip Seymore Hoffman for Graff!!!


  • Excpired

    I don’t trust Matt Reeves to be honest, Cloverfield was only a mediocre film and remaking an instant Swedish classic doesn’t exactly earn him creds. The only good thing he’s done so far is hire Moretz and Kodi-Smit; so no big deal there. If his ‘remake’ turns out to be as good as or better than the original then I will trust him, but until that happens I don’t think handing over one of those most popular sci-fi stories in western culture to the man is such a wise idea. Not that Gavin Hood making it is any better of one, but at least he has won an Oscar.

  • Jim Goff

    I will never forgive Hood for X-Men Origins; such a monumental piece of trash.
    Ender’s Game needs this generations Stanley Kubrick. Who that is I have no idea…

    • Thegoodguylives

      Perhaps Alfonso Cuaron would do well.

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  • Mike

    I might as well be the one to bring this up: If this gets made does this give Orson Scott Card publicity to espouse his political opinions? I know people are saying Card’s political views, no matter how wonky, does not factor in to a film adaptation… However, I can guarantee you if this does get made it will become a factor and the film makers and studio will have to start playing PR dodge ball…

  • Kaur

    I am thinking maybe a mix of Peter Jackson and James Cameron with Guillermo Del Torro, however you spell it, sorry for butchering peoples name…. but those are all great directors that i feel know how to portray sci-fi, direct and work with children and that will NOT release a film until they honestly believe its perfect even if they HAVE to step outside of the budget!


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  • Jean

    Is this still a possibility?

    My dream director would be Joss Whedon. He could do it.

  • Jean

    Is this still a possibility?

    My dream director would be Joss Whedon. I fully believe he could pull it off if anyone could.

    • Jean

      Sorry for the double-post. It told me my security code was wrong the first time.

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