Ender's Game gets a movie deal

Discussion in 'Movies' started by mattCR, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Well, that was a big tease!I'm not super excited about the use of modern superhero gymnastics for how the children move in the battle room, but ok, that's the current style. Looking forward to the full trailer.
     
  2. Brandon Conway

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    They are weightless in the battle room, so I don't see how they could avoid the motion of that if they wanted to do it proper.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    For me the book suggests a different form of power and motion than the super heroics used in current movies and the little bit of a teaser suggests.I could be wrong, making too much of nothing. Looking forward to finding out. :)
     
  4. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    They note in all of the books, though that the kids took personal defense and karate type classes; it comes into play in several books later (Children of the Mind as Ender/Peter disarms Lanz, Ender's Shadow series repeatedly for Petra, and those on the battle station who trap Achille.. etc.)
     
  5. Morphling

    Morphling Auditioning

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    absolutely a gree with you.
     
  6. Brandon Conway

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    Tricky marketing because they have to sell it as almost a Harry Potter in Space in order to have the emotional payoffs of the ending work without spoiling it. I like what I see, but I won't be surprised if general audiences unfamiliar with the material see the concept as derivative because they don't know what it's truly about thematically.
     
  7. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I wish they'd taken a Hunger Games approach of Less is More with the marketing. As a fan I love seeing so much material from the books come to life, but I think this sort of sell makes the film cheaper or cheesier.

    Also, does Graff carry the film?
     
  8. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    I agree with you on the first part, but perhaps the second trailer will be more along those lines. Like most first trailers they are a lot more eye candy than outright story. They have 6 more months of marketing to deal with.

    I don't think Graff will carry the film; more likely he will be a key in framing the story background and giving the audience the angle of how zealous the military is in preparing what they believe is an imminent threat. Ideally, a Donald Rumsfeld type.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    So long as they don't replace Ender's most important individual tactic, which is anything but acrobatic karate-kicking.There are opportunities for high-speed, 3D maneuvers (the strings always come to mind).
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Watched the trailer. I'm excited :)

    But I'm very surprised by the final scene of the trailer.
     
  11. Brandon Conway

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    They're selling the film as "kids enlisted for war", so it makes sense to suggest to non-readers that there is a payoff to the training. They just won't understand what that truly means until they see the movie.
     
  12. Brandon Conway

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    OK, so having a day to reflect on the trailer and read Asa Butterfield's reddit AMA, here is my take on how they are adapting certain elements of the book.

    (Long post ahead with major book/story spoilers for EG and the other related novels)

    - Hood, Card and Butterfield have all confirmed that the main element of the book - that of Ender being manipulated/tricked into playing what he believes is a sim game only to find afterwards was real battles - is intact. The only real question is if the viewing audience is aware of the manipulation before Ender is. My guess is no, as that would seemingly rob the film of the emotional impact of that revelation.

    - Butterfield confirmed in his AMA that both the Stinson and Bonzo fights are in the film, and though PG-13, they are "brutal". I guess this leaves open the question of if they die like in the books or are simply severely maimed, but I'm guessing they die as it contributes to Ender's depression of being used to commit Xenocide.

    - We know that the Demesthones/Locke 'Nets conversations has been greatly reduced or excised completely. I imagine they will present the element of Peter's excessive aggression and sociopathic behavour in a different means. Valentine's love for Ender - and his for her - seems to be quite intact as Breslin is one of the key actors in the cast list. The trailer seems to show Ender's visit home with her at the lake, so they seem to be using this character relationship to its fullest - at least until the end of the film. More on that later.

    - We know that the Giant game is not in the film. It seems that they may go with the simpler explanation of a straightforward psychic connection between the Formics and Ender. This makes sense from a streamlining the story standpoint and in making it more visual without burdening the film with scenes of Ender playing a solo PC game. This will also effect the very end of the film. Also more on that later.

    - We know they reduced the number of kids in the battle teams from ~40 to ~6-8. Obviously as a film this helps focus the strategy concepts, but this necessitates that they play out slightly differently from a scale standpoint. We see Bean with the string in the trailer with the a large compilation of "stars" behind him, so it seems the basic idea of the final Battle Room match is intact. This along with the sneak peak intro use of "The Enemy's Gate Is Down" indicates that the strategy element of Ender's reasoning - screw tradition and find the rule loopholes in order to beat the adults who have set up the games - is very much intact.

    - We know from the casting and interviews with Hood that the 14-when-filming Butterfield portrays Ender as 11-12 during the film, while in the book the story covers Ender from age 6-11. This seems like a more than reasonable compromise in order to cast for good performances and to condense the storytelling.

    - It seems that Petra has taken on the role of Alai in being a confidant of Ender, which streamlines the narrative and allows one coed to be privy to his struggles of the dreams, the burden of the games, and the depression/revelation of being used.

    - Now, the very ending of the book - where Ender goes to colonize the former Formic world and becomes Speaker for the Dead - will probably be the most altered of any of the material, for multiple reasons. My theory is that the shots in the trailer of Petra running with the bags is from the ending, as is the shot of the two persons holding bags on the alien world, which IMO are Ender & Petra. If correct, this means several things:
    1) they more than likely do not have very many details of the wars on Earth or of Peter's rise to Hegemon. I think they are saving this stuff for future sequels if they get to make them. A simple scene of Graff/Anderson/whoever informing him he cannot return to earth because of political upheaval is enough to serve Ender's story for the film.
    2) Unlike the book, Ender finds the planet with the queen egg far earlier in his journey.
    3) That he's with Petra instead of Valentine when he finds the egg. This is a possible key change, but I can see it working because it allows them to not have to address any of the elements of Speaker for the Dead concepts such as him writing the Hive Queen. In the film we really only need to see the beginning of Ender's redemption from unintended Xenocide, and Petra helping him after being his main confidant in battle school makes sense and allows Ender to explain what is happening in regards to the psychic connection/final hive queen egg in dialogue to another character instead of in voice over. How the whole Speaker element and his change into pseudo-priest plays out afterwards can be left for follow-up films if they want.

    - I suspect that if they do any sequels they will alter the books greatly, and move much of Bean's story over to Ender's. This would allow them to explore the political fallout on Earth and Peter's power grab, and would allow them to pursue the story of Ender as the desired weapon by multiple governments, while also dramatizing how his action of Xenocide goes from being celebrated to despised by society. This would effectively eliminate the Bean bio-engineering element of the Enderverse, but changing protagonists in a film series is terribly difficult to pull off. Plus, they've seemingly already established a bond between Ender/Petra, which would supersede the Bean/Petra storyline. The Ender/Valentine bond would then play out in the direct shadow of Peter's rise to power. This would be a radical departure from the book series, but for film these could be dynamic dramatic conflict storylines.

    So, there it is. These are just my suppositions. I'd be interested in any responses if you took the time to read all of that rambling.
     
  13. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Brandon, I could deal with most of those except for the last one...

    I can't see them having Petra go with Ender to the other world. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest is that it destroys every sequel; Petra marries Bean in that series, and Ender wanders the universe as the Speaker until he meets Novinha. It would be mind boggling if they would make that change, which would rip apart the Shadow series... Card had said previously someone had proposed something like that and he was adamantly opposed.
    If they take that step, then I would be VERY disappointed.
     
  14. Brandon Conway

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    True, but

    I think at this point they WANT to destroy the Shadow Series for the possible film sequels. We already know Card considers the Speaker-Children books a bad idea to adapt in his recent statements. Without those, they are left with Ender in Exile and mostly stories that are about a totally different protagonist. That's terrible for a movie series to shift protagonists like that, especially when that protagonist is being played by one of the finer young actors now working.

    I may be wrong, but my gut tells me they are going to do this. So, in the end, Ender's Game essentially holds true to the book, but the other books get considerably altered.

    If I am wrong and the Shadow Series setup stays true, then more power to them. I'm just not expecting it.
     
  15. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    As much as I enjoyed the book, my reading of it took place way before Card made his social views public. Because of his views I cannot in good conscious support this movie.
     
  16. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Everybody has to make their own choices on matters like that. While I disagree strongly with Card's views on homosexuality and many of his political stances, I have no trouble separating the work from the writer. There are a few of Card's novels (the "Empire" series comes to mind) where his skewed worldview infects the material, and I avoid those, but I wouldn't miss this for anything. Ender's Game is a deeply compassionate story, and I don't think going to see the movie counts as an endorsement of the author's views.Brandon, the main reason I don't think they're going that route is a matter of casting:
    Why cast an Oscar nominee like Abigail Breslin for the bit role of Valentine if they're not setting her up for the sequels? Especially if the Locke/Demesthones posts have been largely excised from the film. Steinfeld's going to have a lot of screen time in the Battle School so it makes sense to cast an actress with some dramatic heft for that one-off role. As soon as I heard they were casting Breslin has Valentine, I figured it was because they wanted a "name" actress in the role for "Speaker".
    Honestly, I think "Speaker of the Dead" might be a better book than "Ender's Game", but it's more or less impossible to make a movie out of: long scenes of talking interspersed with flashes of insanely graphic violence. I could see a great HBO or Showtime miniseries made out of the book, but I don't see how you get a PG-13 blockbuster out of it.
     
  17. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Most definitely.

    I have no problems separating work from the writer either but it is a matter of knowing that he is receiving money that he can use to further his views. Of course, he is going to get the money whether I see the movie or not.

    Boycotting the movie is the only way I can be sure that my money: in any way, shape or form, will not end up going to him.

    I've always felt Adam that Speaker of the Dead is the better book.
     
  18. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Fair enough, Lou. I've often wondered if the younger Card who wrote those early books would agree with the Orson Scott Card of today. Because while he wrote one of his best books in recent years (Pathfinder), he seems to be coming from a very different place as a writer now.
     
  19. Brandon Conway

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    I like it more as well, but it's never going to get made.

    What I wrote was just a supposition. They could still go down that road with Breslin in the sequels, but in a different approach.

    As for Card.... my position is, if I knew every political view of every creative person involved in films and used that to refrain from seeing their work I would probably never see a movie again.
     
  20. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Lionsgate just released a statement about Orson Scott Card's views on same-sex marriage:
    Personally, I don't see the point. It comes across as a big "fuck you" to author of the source material, but I don't think it's going to change the minds of anybody that's offended by Card's views.
     

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