The cast of Ender’s Game appeared at this year’s Comic-Con to talk about the task of bringing the beloved book to life. Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, and director Gavin Hood gave insight into their experience adapting this classic tale. Veteran Ford also discussed his journey through sci-fi and emphasizes how Ender’s Game shouldn’t be diminished by the controversy surrounding author Orson Scott Card.
Harrison Ford on how Han Solo and his character Graph are alike:
Harrison Ford: Han and Graph are nothing alike. Graph is a very complex character with an awesome responsibility who recruits and trains young Ender and in this construction of the story faces a lot of moral issues involved in using young people for warfare and the moral issues are part of Graph’s story. Ender doesn’t face the issues of morality till the end of the film till he knows what happened. Graph is aware of his moral responsibilities all thought his part of the story. The book deals with very complex problems about social responsibility and the moral issues ones faces when one is part of the military establishment. I think Graph is a little more complex than Solo but it doesn’t mean that I regret Han Solo.
The cast on what they love about their characters:
Asa Butterfield: I’m a big fan of science fiction so I had a great time reading it. And Ender’s character—yes the film is a science fiction epic but to me it’s a lot more than that. The novel and Ender’s character- one of the reasons it was so intriguing to me was the complexity. Me and Gavin talked a lot about here we wanted to take it and Enders constant internal struggle that he is facing throughout the film his development. It was really intriguing to me and we had a good time experimenting with it.
Hailee Steinfeld: Something that I loved about the project as a whole was that it had such a huge fan base. Form me creating a backstory for Petra was also interesting because you’re introduced to her a little further into the story. But one of the most exciting things is experiencing the excitement that everyone around this has and it’s been such a great experience and we are excited to share it with you guys.
Gavin Hood on Ender’s Game and Tsotsi’s similarities:
Gavin Hood: I suppose a lot a lot of artists fixate on certain themes. People say, ‘You made Tsotsi’ and then here comes Ender’s Game. I don’t want to belittle the themes I am focused on but they’re very similar you have in both cases kids struggling for an identity in a morally complex universe. They’ are fabulously morally complex characters this is not a story about good and evil in a simplistic way where a character’s wronged and has to right the wrong through revenge. This is a case where the character is at war with his own nature. That was the case with Tsotsi and with Ender. Just this time we have a lot more cool toys and make some really cool big visual effects and it has heart. I think that’s why I love this story, it’s still a character driven piece. I get to have the best of two worlds I get to play with big visuals, huge wonderful visual effects, big epic looking stuff but still have this wonderful character driven story that requires great performances.
Ford answers the question of whether Card’s opinion on same sex marriage takes away from Ender’s Game:
Harrison Ford: He has written something (Ender’s Game) that is of value for us all to consider moral responsibilities. I am aware of his statements admitting that the question of gay marriage is a battle that he lost. And he admits that he lost it. I think we all know that we’ve all won. That humanity has won. I think that’s the end of the story.
On the conversations about the movie’s moral relevancy and themes:
Harrison Ford: This movie I think is very prescient, the novel was very prescient about something we now have in our lives which is the ability to wage war at a distance and to do the business of war somewhat emotionally disconnected from it. So the morality of a military commander and the military command structure the morality of the society which raises a military and wages war are the moral concerns of this film and they are something we are wrestling with in daily in our lives. The issue of interplanetary warfare is the sci-fi aspect of it but what gives it such emotional tone and the reality is that these are our everyday lives now. The capacity that we have technologically is one half of the package the other the use of young people in the business of war which has always historically been the case. The youngest of our youngest and fittest of our cultures have always been the ones first in line for warfare. The question of using the even younger people the book Ender Wiggins starts out at seven years of age, in this case wisely it has been changed to thirteen which was a modest choice .The character that I play is responsible for manipulation of warfare and the military. The more you try and wrestle with putting young people in the service of some preconceived need of humanity the more you realize how complex these ideas are and how much attention they deserve.
Ender’s Game opens in theaters November 1.