Our preview of the sci-fi epic from this year's Comic-Con

By Grady Smith
Updated July 12, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT
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The two-decade-plus wait for a film version of Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi epic Ender’s Game is almost over. Working from a script by director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), the $110 million production chronicles a young boy (Hugo‘s Asa Butterfield) who’s recruited for a military school in space and then leads the human race in an intergalactic war for survival. (The filmmakers have been drawn into a few skirmishes of their own because of Card’s opposition to same-sex marriage.)

To prepare his young cast for the 14-week shoot, Hood sent the ”Launchies” — including Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) — to space camp in Huntsville, Ala. There, they experimented with simulators and centrifuges — or, as Butterfield calls them, ”these robot things.” Hood also kept two military sergeants on set to drill the kids in between takes on marching and saluting. Still, simulating weightlessness and shooting Battle Room scenes weren’t as daunting as working alongside an A-list adult cast that includes Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley, and Harrison Ford. Asked which star proved most intimidating, Butterfield quickly responds, ”I think you know who I’m going to say: Mr. Ford.”

Storm Brews Over Ender’s Author
In addition to writing sci-fi best-sellers, Orson Scott Card is an outspoken conservative Mormon who, in 2009, joined the board of the anti-gay-union National Organization for Marriage. Now a group called Geeks OUT has asked fans to boycott the upcoming film version of Card’s Ender’s Game. ”Hopefully, it will send a message that people who are actively vocal against the LGBT community don’t really have a place within the greater geek culture,” says Geeks OUT’s Patrick Yacco. For its part, Summit says the LGBT rights group GLAAD vetted the script several months ago and Card will not be used in the film’s PR campaign. Card himself tells EW, ”With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay-marriage issue becomes moot.” He says Ender’s ”has nothing to do with political issues” and hopes ”the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.”

Ender's Game

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  • Orson Scott Card
  • Tor Books