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Production Blog #10 -- More Q&A and our first look at the I.F. Insignia

The official Ender's Game production blog isn't always ready on Wednesday but it is always, always worth the wait.

This week, we got our very first look at the insignia of the International Fleet, the organization created after the first Formic Invasion to protect humans from future hostile Bugger attacks.

It is the I.F. which runs the training center whose sole purpose is to scour the planet for young geniuses who will be shipped into space to train to be military leaders, the same place Ender Wiggin is sent and eventually learns what a "game" actually is: Battle School. Check this out:



(Edit: Cole, a reader from EnderWiggin.net, pointed out that this symbol is the Greek letter Phi.)

A bit chilling, right?

Accompanying the photo was another fantastic Q&A session, which gives us some insight into the military aspect of the film, Aramis Knight's portrayal of Bean, and how the Ender's Game movie will be dealing with the passing of time.
How militaristic will the environment be?  Will we be seeing the children treated like the soldiers they are meant to portray?  For all intents and purposes they are in boot camp for most of their adolescence.  Will we see the characters being broken down?

Funny you should ask.  We had a great visit with some online press who visited the set, and they got to talk to our actors.  Without giving too much away, they told great stories of not only going to Space Camp, but also having to undergo a form of boot camp with a no nonsense instructor who taught them how to march properly in unison and much more.  And when they screwed up they were ordered to do push ups!  They got in shape trust me.  It’s painful for my self image to see so many young kids with six pack abs.  Maybe I should go to boot camp next.
The actors we had the opportunity to talk to during our set visit Tuesday did tell us super fun stories about Space Camp and all the intense training they had to go through before Ender's Game started filming. We heard boyish tales of six-packs and six-packs having six-packs. There's no doubt that these kids were pushed to the limits physically and it's certain that all of their effort is really going to pay off on the big screen.
How is the film team approaching the great deal of wonderful internal monologue?  Voice-overs rarely translate well to the visual medium of film, so just wondering what types of mechanisms will be considered to convey the “important stuff” inside Ender’s head?

We have a muppet of the Colonel who narrates the whole thing from the future.  Oh, no wait, different movie.  I joke because that is a great question and I think Gavin would tell you that it was the biggest challenge he faced in composing his script.  It was also the most challenging aspect of the casting process.  So here we have two things that really make it happen.  First, we got such an unbelievable group of actors who can convey so much with their faces and body language… frankly, with their performances, which is something a book is denied using to convey inner emotion or thought. 

And secondly, of course, Gavin elegantly translated some of the inner thought into action or character decisions in his script — drama — and that allowed him to find natural places for the characters to speak about what they are going through.

How much of Bean’s story will we be hearing about?

Bean who?  Oh, Bean!  You should know how much Orson Scott Card advocated for as much Bean as we could muster, and really encouraged ways to make him pivotal.  You’ll decide if we succeeded!  I think we did. And we’re even more excited for you all to experience Aramis Knight’s fantastic portrayal of Bean.
Very exciting to hear that Bean will be playing such a pivotal role in the movie, especially as he is such a huge part of Ender's story: if you've read Ender's Shadow, you are aware of exactly how important he ends up being. Bean is one of Card's most dynamic, well-rounded characters and it's great to hear that he'll be getting his share of screen time.

Everyone has been asking whether or not the Ender's Game film is going to include aspects of Ender's Shadow -- does this perhaps answer that question?
How has the book been adapted to script to work with the ages of the actors?
Time has been compressed impressionistically.  Though we don’t specify how much time has passed, leaving it somewhat up to your imagination, it is clear that the time span is not as long as the book’s.

Is it still about using empathy as a weapon?

One of the great themes that is explored, in more ways than one, is how empathy can be seen as a weakness or a strength. How understanding an enemy makes you also understand their weaknesses.  And even how withholding empathy can also be a weapon.  The fact that the audience is going to want nothing more than for commanders to show these young people warmth and understanding, but that it has to be weighed against the fear of it being not in the young soldiers best interests in order for them to do what they have to do, makes for fascinating stuff.

The relationship between Graff and Ender is my favorite in the entire series and I'm really looking forward to seeing it explored on-screen. When reading the novel, the reader isn't allowed inside Graff's head very often: every seemingly cruel thing he does is mostly only seen from Ender's point-of-view. In the film, we will be able to see Graff's face when Ender turns around.

Could be really powerful stuff.

(Rather sad that Orci was kidding about the muppet.)

What do you guys think? Are you glad OSC pushed for Bean to be included as much as possible? What are your hopes for Ender and Graff's relationship in the film?

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