Asa Butterfield confirmed last night on Twitter that he has accepted the role of Ender Wiggin in the upcoming Ender’s Game adaptation.
The star of the recently released Hugo, and occasional guest-star on the UK fantasy drama Merlin, is quite talented for his age, and has received a fair amount of praise from critics for his roles, which helps assure me that the part will be played well.
Now that Wiggin’s role has solidified, reports are coming in from several sources that the attempt to draw in Viggo Mortensen to play General Graff, Ender’s commander, and the adult lead role in the film, has fallen through.
Fortunately, one of the names on the current short-list for the role is Harrison Ford. If Ford does take the role, then all my trepidation over the quality of Ender’s Game will evaporate.
Sure, one always worries when their favorite franchises are up for adaption, but the casting alone for this film, which is about all we know so far, is already shaping up in wonderful ways.
Summit Entertainment has obviously been very successful with its Twilight Saga, and is expected to do the same with Hunger Games, which is based on a series of young adult fantasy novels with a broader appeal than Twilight.
When I first read about Summit’s plan to make the Ender’s Game film, I thought it was a poor idea, at least judging by the Twilight films. However, now that we’ve gotten a better look at Hunger Games, I think that Summit could do a good job with the adaption if they approach it correctly.
Frankly, though, I’m still a bit worried about the budget. Summit typically only spends $50m or less on a fantasy film, and Ender’s game will need three times that, I think, to look right. No budget has yet been revealed.
The synopsis for the film is thus:
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
Ender’s Game is planned to hit theaters on March 15, 2013.