ENDER’S GAME Updates from Producer Roberto Orci; Talks About Kubrick Influence, Favorite Scene, Zero G Battles and More

     May 17, 2012

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Harrison Ford reportedly called Ender’s Game, “one of the most emotional science fiction movies he has ever seen.”  If you’re a fan of Orson Scott Card’s award-winning novel, this article should let you breathe a little easier about the upcoming Gavin Hood adaptation.  While I was a bit leery about Hood’s attachment to my beloved property (see X-Men Origins: Wolverine), the Ender’s Game production blog has been shedding some interesting light on the filmmaker’s approach.  Hood and producer Roberto Orci (Star Trek) really seem to get the gist of the novel; that should elicit a sigh of relief followed quickly by a jolt of excitement from fans.  Orci recently participated in a Q&A on the blog in which he commented on the tone of the picture, the relationship between Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and Ender (Asa Butterfield), as well as his favorite scenes.

Ender’s Game tells the story of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a young boy sent away to Battle School to hone his military skills and, hopefully, save the world from an impending alien invasion.  Also starring Abigail Breslin, Sir Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Nonso Anozie and Viola Davis, the picture opens November 1st, 2013.  We’ve also got some images from the production, so hit the jump to check it out!

It’s hard to believe that the film won’t open until November of 2013, but I’m definitely getting the feeling that the production is on the right track.  Hood and Orci each appear to be as big a fan of the source material as I am.  Along with Orci’s Q&A below, we’ve got some photos from the production blog, including Hood meticulously going over a Battle Room scene, the young actors of Dragon Army training in hand-to-hand combat and some geek-worthy nameplates from two of the main characters.  Check it out! [Some mild SPOILERS follow, so for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet(first of all, do that!), you may want to skip this bit.]

enders-game-dragon-armyValentine asks:

As fans of the book, what is your favorite scene from the book? Do you have a different favorite scene from the movie?

I always loved the scenes within the Mind Game that Ender believes he plays for recreation in the orbiting battle school.  Part video game, part psychological test, and if you know the book, part something extraordinary that shouldn’t be given away for those who have not read the book.  As for my favorite scene from the movie, we are still filming it so I haven’t seen it yet!

Reuben asks:

Question to Mr. Orci — How has this production differed from past (and other current) projects? I’m especially interested to know how you feel about the cast’s interactions and your feelings about the script, now that you see it ‘in action’.

gavin-hood-enders-gameLet’s see.  Well first, though I have had some experience with bringing beloved stories to the screen that had intelligent and rabid fan bases like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3, TRANSFORMERS, and STAR TREK, this is the first movie with a pre-existing fan base I have worked on that I didn’t write.  This means I that got the chance to evaluate the material merely as a fan.  Gavin’s script made me jealous, but it was also a relief that he had satisfied what I would want as a fan from a difficult adaptation.  Also, I have never worked with so many talented young actors who became friends so fast under such amazing circumstances.  Seeing Asa, who plays Ender, and Hailee, who plays Petra, floating high above the set and getting the giggles was amazing and frightening all at once.  They laughed for like twenty minutes, which as a producer on a clock eager to finish your shooting day can give you a heart attack.  But soon we all had the giggles, and the joy of it overcame the panic.

Chris Neumann asks:

enders-game-wiggin-graffWhat are the visual influences for the movie? Syd Mead or Star Trek? 2001 or Armageddon? Jon Berkey or Michael Bay?

Visual influences?  One thing I can tell you is that Gavin Hood is a gigantic Stanley Kubrick fan, and it shows. And yet, in some of the Zero G battles, things are going on that Kubrick never had a chance to tackle.  The technology and advancements in film making available to us allowed us to realize a vision that is totally unique and modern while also being, as Harrison Ford calls it, one of the most emotional science fiction movies he has ever seen.

William Harley asks:

How much time is going to be spent on developing Graff’s relationship with Ender? To me, those insights into the command level of the school really brought out the meaning of leadership and how to tackle the challenges that come up.

enders-game-roberto-orciThe relationship between Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and Ender (Asa Butterfield) is key to the movie’s success.  Graff would love nothing more than to be Ender’s friend, yet Graff can’t always show it because he has to make it clear to Ender that in the event of another alien invasion, there will be no one available to help him.  Their relationship is simultaneously heartbreaking and fun.

Paul2012 asks:

Is it a movie for adults, about kids, or a kids movie? I hope for the former.

Like the book, the movie Ender’s Game is about young protagonists dealing with one of the most adult situations known to man: WAR.  We don’t soft peddle it, yet we don’t shy away from the fun of being in space and learning amazing new skills that we would all want to learn at any age.

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