When they first announced they were going to adapt Ender’s Game into a movie, I was in high school and just finishing the book for the first time. Orson Scott Card’s masterpiece of science fiction* was the first book to truly blow my mind—and as such, I was not at all excited to see it transferred to the big screen.
That’s right. Not excited. And for one simple reason: who the hell could star as Ender Wiggin?
Ender is one of my favorite protagonists of all time. He is deeply introspective, wicked smart, and has such vast character growth throughout the novel that it is impossible not to become irreversibly connected with him.
Oh, and he’s only 8 years old.
Eight years old! What the hell kind of child star could ever pull off such gravitas—especially for the twist to end all twists at the end of the novel? At the time when the film was first announced in 2003, I remember Haley Joel Osment’s name being bandied about to star. But absolutely none of my high school friends (read: super duper nerds and Card elitists) thought that Osment—or any kid—could ever actually play Ender.
Seven years later, I assumed that the movie idea was totally dead in the water. Imagine my surprise when I got a text from one of my friends saying that Ender has finally been cast. But the surprise was quickly followed by dread. If there wasn’t a child star in 2003 that I could name who could play Ender, then there certainly wasn’t one in 2011 that I could think of…except…
I booted up my computer, and my suspicions were confirmed. Ender Wiggin will be played by Asa Butterfield, the star of the recent hit Hugo (which is also based on a book).
I saw Hugo on Thanksgiving and was fairly well delighted by it, but mostly for the acting of the phenomenal Ben Kingsley and the other child star Chloë Grace Moretz. While Butterfield is fantastic at portraying emotion, I didn’t much identify with his character. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he was definitely a good actor. What remains to be seen is if he has the chops to pull of Ender, a role that will be a million fold more difficult than Hugo.
Ender’s Game was adapted by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine **), who will also direct. The movie is slated for a March 15, 2013 release.
How do you feel about this casting, canaries?
*Though I would argue that the parallel series, Ender’s Shadow, is actually better. Agree/disagree? Discuss.
**Okay, I’m now officially more worried about this. Wolverine put me to sleep. And there was a half naked Hugh Jackman in most of it!