Friday, 18 November 2011

Ender’s Game: Lead role offered to ‘Hugo’ star Asa Butterfield...

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It’s no secret that Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is one of my 5 favourite books of all time. It’s also one of those books that sounds frankly ridiculous and simple if you try to describe it, so over the years I’ve either just lent people my copy of the novel of encouraged them to seek it out if they aren’t in my physical sphere of influence. In over 20 years I haven’t had a single person come back anything other than thrilled by the book, so, once again, if you haven’t read it, I really suggest that you do, it is excellent. A great many stories, including The Hunger Games, could trace their ancestry through this story.
Asa Butterfield in Martin Scorsese's Hugo

The basic plot of the film revolves around a military training camp in space where the best of Earth’s children are being trained  in military combat, training and tactic in a desperate attempt to find an ‘Alexander The Great, Julius Caesar, Nelson type military genius. Earth has survived an alien Invasion, by an enormous combination of good fortune and ‘the one right guy in the right place at the right time’. But the aliens will be returning and in greater force; it is a battle the human race has no chance of winning on ‘equal’ terms unless they can find a person, or group of people, on a par with the greatest military geniuses of all time. To that end children have been ‘monitored’ for signs of genius level intellect AND a propensity for violence / strategic thinking. Children that are viable candidates get shipped off to a space station for a combination of education in war ad a series of games designed to both test and fine tune their military prowess. Again, I know this doesn't read that well, but it is very much worth a read.
It seems that no book worth filming doesn’t come with a tale about years and years of aborted attempts to bring it to screen. I remember “speaking” to Card about the film way back in 2002, where he confirmed that a film of the story was best served as a combination of the 2 separate novels Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow. As he said then My point was that no matter what happens with the movie, my books will still exist, and the movie will not erase them.  Meanwhile, we have a creative team assembled - including the Warner executives involved - who all want the same thing I want - an excellent Ender's Game movie - and are all agreed on the same fundamental storyline combining the core story elements of Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow.
The Ender series of books continues to be adapted by Marvel Comics

Asa Butterfield is currently most famous for his roles in ‘The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas’ and 'Nanny McPhee & The Big Bang', but that will change over the coming weeks as he is the star of Martin Scorsese’s ‘children’s’ 3D film ‘Hugo’. He hasn’t accepted the role yet, but he’s a fantastic young actor and I happen to hope he takes the part.

The film is being produced by Robert Kurtzman & Bob Orci, the writing team behind J J Abrams’ Star Trek films, Transformers and Fringe. It is to be directed by Gavin Hood. Now that appointment will send shudders down the spine of  some, because they didn’t like X-Men Origins: Wolverine; but they should remember that, even if they don’t like that film (and millions did), Hood got the job as director of Origins because of his multi award nominated work as director of Tsotsi; and he has been nominated for other films too.

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