Yay, Nay, or Maybe: Hailee Steinfeld and Hugo’s Asa Butterfield to Star in Ender’s Game?

by | Dec 3rd, 2011 | 5:25PM | Filed under: News

In Orson Scott Card’s classic Ender’s Game science-fiction novels, space travel can take hundreds, even thousands of years. And fans of the beloved books have sometimes felt it might take that long to get them to the big screen. Various directors, writers, and studios have been circling the project for well over a decade.

But this week things really heated up on the long-awaited film version of the initial 1985 book, Ender’s Game, which follows kids being trained in the future to defend Earth from alien invasion.

Fourteen-year-old Hugo star Asa Butterfield has been cast as the series’ hero Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, and True Grit‘s Oscar-nominated Hailee Steinfeld has signed on to play young Ender’s Battle School friend Petra Arkanian.

Plus there are rumors Harrison Ford is being sought for the role of training commander Colonel Hyrum Graff. The film is being directed and co-written by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

In Ender’s Game, pre-teen Andrew Wiggin is selected for battle-command training alongside other high-aptitude children. He’s sent off to Battle School to learn how help lead the defense of Earth against an impending invasion by the Formic alien race (known as “buggers” for their insect- and hive-like physiology and culture).

Summit Entertainment is hoping the Ender series (which is currently at 10 novels, many following Ender as an adult) could be another Harry Potter-style franchise (with more than a few Hunger Games themes present). But before you start thinking of cute children or whiny little Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, know that Ender’s Game is much more than just a “kiddie Star Wars.”

The book (which is written for adults, not youth) is rich with psychological layers as we see the experiences and personality characteristics–both positive and negative–that make “Ender” (as Wiggin is called) a battle-leader prodigy.

In fact, Ender’s Game draws thematic tension from children being recruited to do very grown-up things. And the subsequent novels focus on characters dealing with the moral aftermath of their actions, as well as the rise of a totalitarian government.

British Butterfield looks like an excellent choice–not only was his performance in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo subtle-but-confident and free of any kid-actor posturing, but his big, darkly knowing eyes make him look a lot like a child version of Malcolm McDowell. That mix of sweetness, determination, and mystery should serve him well as Ender.

Ender’s Game is scheduled for theatrical release in March of 2013.

What say you all? Are you excited for a film version of Card’s novel to finally make it to the screen? Does Butterfield seem like a good choice for Ender?

Vote in the poll, and then explain your “yay,” “nay,” or “maybe” in the comments below

Are you excited for an Ender's Game film with Asa Butterfield?

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3 Responses to “Yay, Nay, or Maybe: Hailee Steinfeld and Hugo’s Asa Butterfield to Star in Ender’s Game?”

  1. Fiirvoen
    Posted on December 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Nice Malcolm McDowell comparison. I never would have seen that on my own, but now that you say it, it’s obvious.

  2. JawaWaxer
    Posted on December 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I’m a huge fan of the book, and Asa actually looks quite a bit like the mental image I’ve carried in my head. As for the girl, I don’t really see her as a Petra, maybe as Ender’s sister, but not as Petra. Also, I really don’t like the idea of this turning into a Harry Potter-esque franchise. Part of the appeal of the Ender/Shadow/Children series is the major league adult themes and politics that Card is always willing to deal with. Maybe this will work out, but I see if being severely dumbed down.

  3. dunvarna
    Posted on December 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Yes I am a fanboy of the books. I just hate to see Hollywood attempt to make one. The budget would have to be “phantasmical”, the location stellar, the acting Award winning. The problem is our imagination is much more vivid than reality. If perchance a movie had been made sans the book, we would think it was the greatest movie ever. That being said, I really hope they blow my expectations away. Now if we can just get them to make a decent movie out of some more sci-fi greats…. Kudos to the peeps that got this going….