I’m worried, worried for Andrew Wiggin. I am nervous for Orson Scott Card and even for Gavin Hood. Although the latter I am simply concerned that he is going to screw this up.
Ender’s Game is an award-winning science fiction novel and one of my favorite books of all time. It is being adapted for the big screen by the aforementioned Hood. With the help of the book’s author, Card, fans and newcomers will bear witness to Ender’s Game the movie sometime near the end of 2013. Not a ton is known about this project just yet besides the cast. That is, though, where my worry stems from. The cast just doesn’t seem right.
In the novel, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is obviously the main character. Nearly the entire story is about him at all times. If there is something we don’t know it is usually because Ender is also not aware of it. Without exception, every other character in this tale is a supporting part. Some are more impactful than others; none even come close to Ender. However, as evidenced by the announced cast, it seems certain characters will be getting certain, undeserving plot bumps, if celebrity stature has anything to do with a Hollywood script.
Harrison Ford, by far the most famous actor in this movie, is set to play Colonel Graff. This seems like fine casting from an appearance standpoint. Yet, Graff is nothing more than an overarching father figure in the novel. He makes things hard on Ender while caring for the boy from his perch. How Harrison Ford is going to deal with playing a figment of a character more than an actual person will be interes….no, no, no. Let me rephrase that. How Harrison Ford is going to convince the producers to increase his role from just a figment of a character to an actual person will be interesting. After all, Ford is not exactly known for bit parts.
This same argument crops up for the second and third billed actors on the cast list. Abigail Breslin, six years since Little Miss Sunshine and three years since Zombieland, is slated to play Valentine Wiggin. Sure, this seems fine until you realize Valentine lives on a different planet from where 90% of the plot of the novel takes place. The same goes for Sir Ben Kingsley, whose portrayal of Mazer Rackham must be spiffed up a great deal since the latter had barely any “camera time” in Card’s book.
I understand it would be difficult to cast a movie where one person has the bulk of the work and not upset people. Here are Gavin Hood’s unenviable choices:
- cast famous actors in these parts and give them small roles, thus upsetting famousHollywoodtypes
- cast famous actors in these parts and give them large roles, thus upsetting book nerds such as myself
- cast unknowns for these parts and give them the part the role deserves, thus upsetting your production and advertising companies.
I guess the deciding factor came down to money. It’s much more financially sound to upset fans of the book, who will most assuredly still come see the movie even if it is just to hate on it. With more than a year remaining until release, there is tons of time to perfect the script but, let’s be honest, I am going to go see this movie even if they don’t.
Well played Gavin Hood, you filthy whore of a director, well played.