Adapting something like Orson Scott Card’s award winning science fiction novel, Ender’s Game, would always be a daunting task. It is a tale of friendship, bravery and kids displaying an alarming propensity for violence. What’s not to love?! Hell, it’s even considered proscribed reading by the United States Marine Corp.
Because of this, it’s no surprise that fans are a bit anxious about writer and director Gavin Hood’s latest attempt at bringing the story to the screen, and whether it will do it’s source justice. Producer Roberto Orci (best known as one half of the writing duo responsible for Star Trek, Transformers and MI:3 amongst others) recently had a talkback session on AICN where he decided to address some concerns that fans may have, as well as give the first look at the film set.
On whether or not Orson Scott Card is involved in the production:
“We have been in meaningful contact with Mr. Card. He is as smart as his book indicates. He has been a great resource for us in every way.”
The original novel spawned 4 sequels as well as spin-off stories, Orci addresses these:
“Sequels are tricky. For one, we never like to count on sequels until they hatch. On the other hand, Card has written so much awesome material in this universe that there is much to figure out. Hope we get the chance.”
He also spoke about how true to the source Gavin Hood’s script would be:
“When adapting something so beloved, you gotta make sure you keep the soul of it intact while doing what is necessary to translate to live action. I know that’s not much of an answer, but I can tell you that we are treating the book preciously.”
Meanwhile, over on the film’s official production blog, which Orci maintains, we get our first – albeit not very revealing – look at the Battle School set for the film along with this message:
If you think regular school is tough, try it in a rotating space station. And by the way, do you have a hall pass for hall number 0058? Because if you don’t, you could end up scrubbing the showers. When you first arrive at Battle School, all you perceive is its utility, its functionality… that is until you enter the BATTLE ROOM, where there is no up, no down, and ZERO G’s. Movie making can become overly reliant on digital worlds, and nothing can replace a well-built set that you can see and touch and stand in the middle of, fooling you into thinking you are really there. Enjoy this small taste of Ender’s big world. We’ll see a lot more in the weeks to come.
I’m definitely looking forward to this film, as the concept is one that could lend itself extremely well to the screen. They have assembled an amazingly talented young cast, led by Hugo‘s Asa Butterfield, but the point of concern here is clearly Hood. He had a serious misstep with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which started off strongly but just ran away from itself with really bad ideas and characterization. Hood has proven in the past that he is certainly not devoid of talent, so I am assuming that the reported constant head butting with the studio and screenwriters about the direction of the film is what resulted in that eventual uneven mess. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen here and that Hood brings his A-game, in which case we could be in for a hell of a ride.
Here’s the novel’s official synopsis:
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.