The 'Ender's Game' controversy
Eeven Andrew ”Ender” Wiggin, the boy genius and tactics savant, might be flummoxed by the challenge facing Summit Entertainment and the makers of Ender’s Game as they march toward the sci-fi film’s autumn release.
There’s talk of a potential boycott, but unlike the familiar scenario, this furor isn’t over the film’s content — it’s aimed at novelist Orson Scott Card, who has used the success of the Ender best-sellers to position himself as a national voice against same-sex marriage. (He has Molotov opinions, too, such as those in this 2008 Mormon Times essay: ”If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the [definition of marriage,] it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.”)
Already Card’s incendiary views have postponed one project: He was hired to co-write an issue of Adventures of Superman, but artist Chris Sprouse announced March 5 that he had decided to quit the DC Comics venture. ”The media surrounding this story,” Sprouse said, ”reached the point where it took away from the actual work.”
So what does the building backlash mean for the $110 million Ender’s Game, which stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, and Hailee Steinfeld and opens Nov. 1? Producer Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Fringe) says he wasn’t aware of Card’s views when he decided to adapt the beloved sci-fi classic: ”It didn’t occur to me to do background checks on anybody.” Still, he says, the movie should be judged on its message, not the personal beliefs of the original author. (Card had minimal involvement in the film; Gavin Hood penned the screenplay.) As Orci says, ”If it’s on the screen, then I think it’s fair game.”