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Author Topic: Ender's Game Movie?
LoverOfJoy
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Last I heard this movie was in limbo. Today I came across this article stating that it's coming out in 2013 and has big names like Harrison Ford attached. Does anyone else know more about this? Has Card mentioned this on his sister site?
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TommySama
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Variety says they will begin filming in New Orleans early this year. I Will Be There; I Will Be Part of the Magic!!!
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Adam Masterman
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Hailee Steinfeld as Petra is a brilliant casting choice; she was so awesome in True Grit its not even funny. Otherwise, meh; never got that into Ender's Game. Speaker was leagues better.
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msquared
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The kid from the movie Hugo is playing Ender.

msquared

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JWatts
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Also includes Asa Butterfield (the star of Hugo) as Ender. I would think that Abigail Breslin (age 16) is a little old to play the part of Valentine. So either they'll re-write the role of Valentine for an older child or they'll make her appear substantially younger.

I'm curious about how they'll do Peter also. The role needs a lot of nuance, though you could get away with portraying him as a straight black hat. Most of the nuance showed up in the later books.

And the idea of Harrison Ford as Graff and Ben Kingsley is interesting. Definitely some star power and it bodes a lot better than the horrible Sci-Fi book adaptations we've seen in the last couple of decades (i.e Starship Troopers, Battlefield Earth, etc). Hopefully, Harrison Ford's presence will magically turn this into a 'Blade Runner'. [Wink]


IMDB

Coincidentally, Battlefield Earth was playing last night and I decided to watch some of it. I thought to myself that it couldn't be as bad as I remembered. After the first 20 minutes, I gave up, it was just as rotten a movie as I remembered.

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scifibum
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Last time I thought about whether I want the movie to get made if it gets made badly, I thought no. Now...now it doesn't matter. I hope it's good. But I'll be glad it got made even if it's not good. Waiting got old.
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DonaldD
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If Asa Butterfield can play Ender and Hailee Steinfeld Petra, then Abigail Breslin is in the right ballpark. It sounds like they are casting 'mature' actors - making a (let's face it) consistently dark drama with a full cast of 12 year olds (and younger) would be pretty risky from a quality perspective.
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msquared
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Most likely they are going to compress the time frame from ages 6-10 or so to 12 years and it only take a year or so.

msquared

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Pete at Home
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Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rakham! That's a stunningly good choice.

I don't think it hurts the story at all to make Valentine older, or even to make her Peter's older sister, if the best available cast ends up that way.

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Pete at Home
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Bean's a tough one, though...
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Bean's a tough one, though...

Bean wasn't really that major a character in the first book.
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LoverOfJoy
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I bet they are hoping for a sequel from Bean's perspective. I doubt they'd make a movie of Speaker for the Dead but I could see them do one of the Shadow series.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rakham! That's a stunningly good choice.

I don't think it hurts the story at all to make Valentine older, or even to make her Peter's older sister, if the best available cast ends up that way.

From what I heard (unofficially) on hatrack.com, OSC wasn't as pleased. I think he wanted someone who was plausibly half Maori like the character in the book. Other than that difference, though, I think Kingsley seems like a great choice. He can pull off the aged-but-tough-as-nails thing, and I can just see him in that first encounter with Ender.
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cherrypoptart
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Maybe it's too late for casting suggestions, but Scott Glenn could be good for a few roles, perhaps Mazer Rackham among them. He's also worked well with Harrison Ford before in some Tom Clancy films. Ben Kingsley is great also, and there could be other supporting roles for Glenn such as administration at Battle School. No, I'm not his agent. Probably too late by now anyway.
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Pete at Home
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Ben kingsley is plausibly half- anything
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Bean's a tough one, though...

Bean wasn't really that major a character in the first book.
With the exception of bonzo, bean was anders' most important foil in battle school
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Bean's a tough one, though...

Bean wasn't really that major a character in the first book.
With the exception of bonzo, bean was anders' most important foil in battle school
Yes, I agree with that, but it doesn't make Bean an important character that needs a wide ranging actor. You need a small kid who gets bullied and acts defiant. That's not exactly a difficult role for even a young actor to pull off. Furthermore, the role could probably be reduced to 20 or 30 lines without impacting the story at all. As long as the kid can pull off the line "The enemy's gate is down." with convincing vigor, almost anyone that's appropriately small and cute will do. Indeed, there's no particular reason Bean even needs to be male.
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cherrypoptart
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I'm having a different take on how Bean should be played. I'm thinking along the lines of The Sixth Sense where there will be lots of little details that you might not notice the first time watching the movie because they are mostly in the background but if you know what you're looking for you can pick up on them. So it's going to require a deep game to play it right, not just for the actor but for the story.
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Pete at Home
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I'll be surprised if they don't cg-enhance anyway, like in Tintin; it would blend better for the battleroom scenes. Which would be truly amazing in 3d...
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JWatts
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I hope they can get the psychological tension right. That's going to be the hardest part of the story to translate. The unbearable psychological pressure that Ender was forced into from the moment he was born/aware until the moment he collapsed after the final battle.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
I hope they can get the psychological tension right. That's going to be the hardest part of the story to translate. The unbearable psychological pressure that Ender was forced into from the moment he was born/aware until the moment he collapsed after the final battle.

Good point.

What shows have you seen that manage to convey that sense of unbearable psychological tension and pressure? Oddly enough, the first that springs to my mind is the end of 24's Season 3, where Bauer gets a moment of peace and collapses into tears in his car.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
What shows have you seen that manage to convey that sense of unbearable psychological tension and pressure? Oddly enough, the first that springs to my mind is the end of 24's Season 3, where Bauer gets a moment of peace and collapses into tears in his car.

I never watched 24. But the show that did it best in my mind was the new version of Battlestar Galactica. It had an awesome, sitting on the edge of your seat, nail biting feel. The ship and crew were pummeled by one misfortune after another for three years. By the third year the crew were walking around haggard from lack of sleep and bitter from the previous events. The ship was dirty with litter in the hallways and scorched and broken.

They just need to transfer that feeling of getting the holy crapped kicked out of you to, first Ender, and then Dragon. If near the end of the movie, Ender is walking around in a daze with raccoon eyes and an air of melancholic determination, that would be exactly the right atmosphere.

Indeed, they should get Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) to play one of the school commanders, he'd be perfect.

[ January 26, 2012, 06:36 PM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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Greg Davidson
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OSC did another book-signing in Redondo Beach last night (evidently he is travelling a lot to LA on business, probably associated with the film, and the bookstore is 6 miles south of LAX).

He did mention that he had a slight concern with the age of the actors, but that the producers wanted performers who were experienced (he mentioned training with lines which I assumed meant physical ones, not oral ones). He was confident that there were not introducing any romantic storylines that would be inconsistent with the original story.

He also mentioned that he is going to go forward with a slight update of the book. In writing drafts of the screenplay (none of which are being actually used, he mentioned), he actually came up with some bits that he liked better than the original. For example (and I have to admit, I last read Ender's Game about 20 years ago so my description of the place in the book is a bit fuzzy), there's a part at the end where Ender figures out how to fly his ship through the defenses of the Formics. OSC said in the original he was never quite satisfied exactly how Ender did it. But in writing the screenplay, he had an earlier scene at the lake with Ender and Valentine whwere they watch leaves fall from a tree. He had Ender take a video (or whatever) of that, and later reflect upon it as he wanted to think of Earth. When it gets time to get past the Formics, he comes to understand that as burrowing creatures they instinctively think in terms of motion in sinuous curves, as with ants in an ant farm. Ender has the insight of using the motion pattern of leaves falling, and by using the exact randomness from his video, they make there way to the objective.

Of course, I am sure it will be much better described in the actual book.

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D.W.
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That or he watched Wash navigate the fleet through the atmosphere in Serenity? [Smile]
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
What shows have you seen that manage to convey that sense of unbearable psychological tension and pressure? Oddly enough, the first that springs to my mind is the end of 24's Season 3, where Bauer gets a moment of peace and collapses into tears in his car.

I never watched 24. But the show that did it best in my mind was the new version of Battlestar Galactica. It had an awesome, sitting on the edge of your seat, nail biting feel. The ship and crew were pummeled by one misfortune after another for three years. By the third year the crew were walking around haggard from lack of sleep and bitter from the previous events. The ship was dirty with litter in the hallways and scorched and broken.

They just need to transfer that feeling of getting the holy crapped kicked out of you to, first Ender, and then Dragon. If near the end of the movie, Ender is walking around in a daze with raccoon eyes and an air of melancholic determination, that would be exactly the right atmosphere.

Ah yes, or the first episode of season 1, after the mini-series, "33" where the cylons were attacking every 33 hours.
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TommySama
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
What shows have you seen that manage to convey that sense of unbearable psychological tension and pressure? Oddly enough, the first that springs to my mind is the end of 24's Season 3, where Bauer gets a moment of peace and collapses into tears in his car.

I never watched 24. But the show that did it best in my mind was the new version of Battlestar Galactica. It had an awesome, sitting on the edge of your seat, nail biting feel. The ship and crew were pummeled by one misfortune after another for three years. By the third year the crew were walking around haggard from lack of sleep and bitter from the previous events. The ship was dirty with litter in the hallways and scorched and broken.

They just need to transfer that feeling of getting the holy crapped kicked out of you to, first Ender, and then Dragon. If near the end of the movie, Ender is walking around in a daze with raccoon eyes and an air of melancholic determination, that would be exactly the right atmosphere.

Ah yes, or the first episode of season 1, after the mini-series, "33" where the cylons were attacking every 33 hours.
Every 33 minutes*. Jack Bauer crying, or Jack Bauer overcoming the pressure and eviscerating a live suspect in order to get his sim card?
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seekingprometheus
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I don't see how Ender's character can be adequately portrayed in a film medium.

The character development in the book is all done through the third-person omniscient. The whole point--the reason the audience empathizes with the character--is because the reader is privy to the personal turmoil of an extraordinarily sensitive character who is forced to externally mask all emotion and compassion in order to succeed in an role he internally despises.

And this character tension is really the central theme of the book. The war, and the dysphoric culture which it has created are simply the setting for a plot in which the central crisis is really entirely psychological--the isolation and suffocation of an eminently human child whose environment has stripped him of any possibility of expressing his humanity.

The reader participates in the tension only because the 3rd person omniscient voice is constantly and directly providing the internal response of the character to his situation--explicitly juxtaposing his personal emotional state with the inhuman actions he is forced to commit.

It's what the book is all about--it's not really plot-driven, it's character-driven, and the unbearable tension is between the external actions he commits and the way he feels internally--and the fact that he has no outlet to express his internal state.

Without 3rd person omniscient, the central tension of the book can't really be expressed at all... The audience is only involved because they are told at every step what is felt by the character. We know the stifling loneliness he feels--a loneliness that is really boils down to the fact that he can't express outwardly how he really feels, that he is forced to hide his emotions and humanity entirely for the sake of duty, that his outward actions do not evince at all the empathic humanity which characterize an internal state completely at odds with all external actions.

A great thespian and a great director might be able to express the character-driven crisis--but the character is a child, and the setting is scifi-action. So it's not gonna happen.

There is no chance of a movie capturing the spirit of the book...

[Frown]

I'll go see it anyway, but I'm not bringing expectations with me.

[ January 28, 2012, 07:50 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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TommySama
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"There is no chance of a movie capturing the spirit of the book..."

And directors are usually so adamant about capturing the spirit of the book.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
What shows have you seen that manage to convey that sense of unbearable psychological tension and pressure? Oddly enough, the first that springs to my mind is the end of 24's Season 3, where Bauer gets a moment of peace and collapses into tears in his car.

I never watched 24. But the show that did it best in my mind was the new version of Battlestar Galactica. It had an awesome, sitting on the edge of your seat, nail biting feel. The ship and crew were pummeled by one misfortune after another for three years. By the third year the crew were walking around haggard from lack of sleep and bitter from the previous events. The ship was dirty with litter in the hallways and scorched and broken.

They just need to transfer that feeling of getting the holy crapped kicked out of you to, first Ender, and then Dragon. If near the end of the movie, Ender is walking around in a daze with raccoon eyes and an air of melancholic determination, that would be exactly the right atmosphere.

Ah yes, or the first episode of season 1, after the mini-series, "33" where the cylons were attacking every 33 hours.
Every 33 minutes*. Jack Bauer crying, or Jack Bauer overcoming the pressure and eviscerating a live suspect in order to get his sim card?
The episode I was referring to, at the end of season 3, was after his son in law had Baur chop his arm off with an axe to disarm (no pun intended) a bioweapon. Not to mention Bauer suffering from heroin withdrawal through the whole season. I thought it was a pretty convincing breakdown. That doesn't mean I don't recogize there are numerous scenes in the series that are painfully over the top. [Big Grin] I just happened to think that one was nifty.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
I don't see how Ender's character can be adequately portrayed in a film medium.

The character development in the book is all done through the third-person omniscient. The whole point--the reason the audience empathizes with the character--is because the reader is privy to the personal turmoil of an extraordinarily sensitive character who is forced to externally mask all emotion and compassion in order to succeed in an role he internally despises.

And this character tension is really the central theme of the book. The war, and the dysphoric culture which it has created are simply the setting for a plot in which the central crisis is really entirely psychological--the isolation and suffocation of an eminently human child whose environment has stripped him of any possibility of expressing his humanity.

The reader participates in the tension only because the 3rd person omniscient voice is constantly and directly providing the internal response of the character to his situation--explicitly juxtaposing his personal emotional state with the inhuman actions he is forced to commit.

It's what the book is all about--it's not really plot-driven, it's character-driven, and the unbearable tension is between the external actions he commits and the way he feels internally--and the fact that he has no outlet to express his internal state.

Without 3rd person omniscient, the central tension of the book can't really be expressed at all... The audience is only involved because they are told at every step what is felt by the character. We know the stifling loneliness he feels--a loneliness that is really boils down to the fact that he can't express outwardly how he really feels, that he is forced to hide his emotions and humanity entirely for the sake of duty, that his outward actions do not evince at all the empathic humanity which characterize an internal state completely at odds with all external actions.

A great thespian and a great director might be able to express the character-driven crisis--but the character is a child, and the setting is scifi-action. So it's not gonna happen.

There is no chance of a movie capturing the spirit of the book...

[Frown]

I'll go see it anyway, but I'm not bringing expectations with me.

There's a lot going on in Enders' game ... I'd say there isn't a single spirit but at least a legion of them. If the movie captures a few of them, I'll be happy.

Unless the book is tiny, like Of Mice and Men, a movie simply can't capture the whole damned thing. (IMO the Malkovitch version of OM&M is about the only movie ever that did manage to completely capture essence of a classic book). In some cases, as with Needful Things, the abbreviation actually results in a substantial improvement. But the point of having an Enders' Game movie wouldn't be to fully convey Enders' Character, but to let us see one of those astonishing battle room games. Screw character and development, man; if they protray the battle room scenes memorably, I'll go home happy.

But seriously, I think that what's being done to Ender can partly be offloaded and interpreted through Graff.

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DonaldD
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There's also the use of dream sequences or, less cliche, the use of his interactions with the young Jane (which would almost be like dream sequences anyway).

And breaking the fourth wall would be hilarious...

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seekingprometheus
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Yeah, my thought has been that they can do some of the psychological insight through Graff, Jane, and Valentine.

But I do think the audience is gonna experience an entirely different story if all it can get is the cold, impassive mask Ender wears while he's breaking the balls and arms of bullies, instead of hearing the guilty, frightened stream of consciousness screaming out of his head on the written page.

And I do think that the central tension of the story is this conflict between sensitive internal consciousness and outwards actions in the violent role into which he is born...

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Greg Davidson
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I just re-read Ender's Game. Who's Jane?
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msquared
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Jane is an AI (sort of) from later books, like Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide.

It would be a spoiler to tell you how she was created.

msquared

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Greg Davidson
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I really need to reread the next few...
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LoverOfJoy
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Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, and Xenocide are really the only ones worth reading a second time (and I'm sure some will disagree with me on Xenocide).

I really didn't like Children of the Mind much. I never finished the Shadow series...the first couple were okay for a one time read but I tried going back again to them and lost interest.

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seekingprometheus
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LOJ:

Completely agreed.

(Actually, I think Ender's Game is best appreciated on its own. But the next two books are good too, and they don't ruin it like the rest of the series does...)

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
LOJ:

Completely agreed.

(Actually, I think Ender's Game is best appreciated on its own. But the next two books are good too, and they don't ruin it like the rest of the series does...)

Agreed. Ender's Game was iconic. I did enjoy Speaker for the Dead, but wasn't particularly impressed with what followed. I can't imagine any of the other books being turned into a decent movie.
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TommySama
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I reread Enders Game and Enders Shadow yesterday and today. Gotta say: I prefer Shadow. I hope there is some overlap. It would be easier. Just make a toddler walk around Battle School and have a tough sounding kid narrate a running monologue for 3 hours.

[ February 02, 2012, 03:11 PM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
I reread Enders Game and Enders Shadow yesterday and today. Gotta say: I prefer Shadow.
Go wash that filthy mouth of yours out with soap!

It's fun to make the occasional shock-value statement to rile up the prudes, but really--this is taking it too far!

[Razz]

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