Production Blog #2 - Ender's World

Yesterday was Wednesday, and along with hump day came a brand new post from the Ender's Game production blog - just like they promised! Orci has given us a really fun picture of the inside of Battle School: here we can see that not only does each deck of the ship have it's own letter, but each hall appears to be numbered.

© 2012 Ender's Game Holdings LLC
If you think regular school is tough, try it in a rotating space station.  And by the way, do you have a hall pass for hall number 0058?  Because if you don’t, you could end up scrubbing the showers.  When you first arrive at Battle School, all you perceive is its utility, its functionality… that is until you enter the BATTLE ROOM, where there is no up, no down, and ZERO G’s.  Movie making can become overly reliant on digital worlds, and nothing can replace a well-built set that you can see and touch and stand in the middle of, fooling you into thinking you are really there. Enjoy this small taste of Ender’s big world. We’ll see a lot more in the weeks to come.
The production blog updates every Wednesday - everyone's new favorite day.

Coming Soon: Battle Room Armies

Get out your flash suits: Ender News is getting ready to introduce a new feature to the website -- armies! Coming soon, users will be able to join an army in the Battle Room and fight alongside their fellow soldiers to earn points and reach the top of the standings table.

How can I sign up?

It's easy! Sign up simply by going to the Battle Room and clicking "Sign in with Facebook" in the upper right-hand corner of the page. You will have to verify the action with Facebook, but only this once. After you've done so, you're in! You'll then be able to conceal your real name by creating an alias on your Profile page and start participating in the Battle Room forum. Your profile page is also where you will find your Notifications - army assignments, transfers, toon placements and, if you're Battle Room material, perhaps you'll even get to command an army of your own.


The Abridged Version

1. Click "Sign in with Facebook" in the upper right hand corner of the Battle Room.
2. Choose an alias on your Profile page.
3. Enjoy your Lauchie status while you're waiting to be assigned to an army.

But don't get too comfortable. You never know when a message may appear saying you've been transferred... or maybe even iced.

How will I be able earn points?

Once the armies launch, you'll have the opportunity to earn points by taking part in official forum discussions, doing quizzes, and participating in other Ender News activities. Then, if you're feeling creative, you can help advance your army by joining in on fun challenges which will be announced every month. These challenges can be anything from creating a fan-made movie poster to coming up with your own Battle School-esque recipe. Each challenge you participate in will earn points for your army and for you individually.

Probably most exciting for many of you: you could get your own story published on Ender News! If you have an original story idea, submit an outline to endernews@gmail.com and our editors will review and hopefully approve your idea. Possible ideas are background stories about the movie, reports or even photo reports about Ender's Game related events, interviews, personal accounts, and so on. Ask yourself if your story idea is movie related, if it is an original idea, and if you (as an Ender's Game fan) would be interested in reading such a story from another author. If you can answer all three questions with "Yes!" then there is a very good chance that your idea gets approved and your story gets published on Ender News.

Published stories will earn their authors a good number of points as it is directly creating value for the whole Ender's Game community. To keep track, a standings board will be publically viewable at all times. Not only will you be able to see which army is at the top of the standings, but also which soldiers have earned the most points for their army.

So brush up on your skills -- Battle Room Armies at Ender News are coming soon. :)

Tony Mirrcandani Cast as Admiral Chamrajnagar

(Photo)
According to IMDB, Tony Mirrcandani, an Indian actor well-known in the Bollywood scene and in the U.S. for his role in the comedy When Harry Tries to Marry, has officially been cast as Admiral Chamrajnagar in the upcoming Ender's Game movie.

In the novel, Chamrajnagar serves as Strategos (a Greek word for "army leader" or "General") of the International Fleet and heads the Command School on Eros. He later becomes Polemarch (warlord) when the office of Strategos is thrown out, going on to later play a rather important role in the Ender's Shadow series - something which could possibly hint toward the direction Summit intends to head with any possible sequels.

Apart from his work in film, Mirrcandani is also a successful stage actor: he was cast as a leading role in Toby Gough's Merchants of Bollywood, a play which toured throughout Australia and much of Europe to rave reviews.

You can read Mirrcandani's full biography on his website here.

Photos: Saturday Night - Steinfeld Birthday Dinner


The gang out for a birthday dinner Saturday night. Photos both © Rhonda Knight.
Check out the Gallery for more cast photos. :)

Speculation: Battle Room in 3D?

While browsing through the numerous recent articles about the launch of the Ender's Game production blog, I came across this article which reported the following:
Ender's Game is scheduled to arrive in 2D and 3D on March 25, 2013.
Since the release date seems incorrect (IMDB reports the film will be released on the 15th in the US), I'm not sure how accurate this information is, but it's the first time I've seen the possibility of 3D mentioned in an actual article.

To be honest, I'm not normally a very big fan of 3D movies. I'd much rather watch a movie in full color without the random scenes that seem to only exist to present an opportunity for something to obnoxiously jump out at your face.

That being said, Martin Scorsese's Hugo was an exception. The 3D effects were delicate, well-done, and added to the atmosphere of the film. I'm hoping that if they've chosen to go the three-dimensional route with Ender's Game, which I find very likely, they employ this same subtle sort of 3D.

The Battle Room, guys. In 3D. I don't know if my heart could handle it.

Cameron Fachman: Ender's Classmate?

(Photo)
The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Cameron Fachman, a 14-year-old who appears in the "reaping" scene of  The Hunger Games movie which just hit theaters today, has also filmed a small speaking role for Ender's Game.

Since the role has already been filmed, it seems likely that his character was one of Ender's schoolmates on Earth. Perhaps one of Stilson's friends?

You can view a video of him talking about getting the role in The Hunger Games here

What do you guys think?  Any speculation as to what other roles he could have possibly been playing?

Stunt Doubling: Aramis Knight, Moises Arias, Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford

IMDB's full cast and crew page for Ender's Game has recently been updated and included a few new stunt doubles, including the one for Asa Butterfield (Ender). Check them out!

Emily Brobst (IMDB)
Age: 27
Height: 4'10" (1.47 m)
Stunt Doubling: Aramis Knight, Moises Arias

Though she initially wanted to be an actor, Brobst, with her tiny 4'10" frame, realized how much she enjoys stunt doubling after being asked to stunt for a young boy while standing in for him on a television set. (Farragut Press) Trained in kickboxing, rock-climbing, tumbling, martial arts, and basically moving in general, Brobst has since doubled many well-known child actors, including Chloe Moretz, Jimmy Bennett and Dylan and Cole Sprouse. As well as performing many of the movie's stunts, she can also be seen with a speaking role in the vampire spoof Vampires Suck.

Brobst's notable credits include The Amazing Spider Man, Paranormal Activity 3, Green Lantern, and Let Me In.

Alicia Vela-Bailey (IMDB)
Age: 28-30ish
Height: 5'9" (1.75 m)
Stunt Doubling: Asa Butterfield

Vela-Bailey, having grown up with a dance and gymnastics background, has been stunting for both television and film since 2005. Her first movie experience came when she was picked to stunt for Milla Jovovich in the film Ultraviolet, a performance which earned her a nomination from the Taurus World Stunt Awards. She was also responsible for all of Zoe Saldana's stunts in the Blockbuster hit Avatar. (Metromix)

Some of Vela-Bailey's previous stunt work can also be seen in Total Recall, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Fourth Kind, and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland


Erik Thirsk (IMDB)
Stunt Doubling: Harrison Ford

Thirsk seems to be fairly new to the world of stunt doubling: he made his first appearance doubling actor Ray Stevenson in Billy Bob Thornton's drama Jayne Mansfield's Car which premiered in Berlin this past February.

Thirsk is listed with various small acting roles in the upcoming films Synchronicity, Parental Guidance, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Papa.

He also will be playing a detective in the t.v. series Coma, which is still in pre-production and debuts later this year.

When Battle School Students Wear Socks

Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of concerned speculation about the Ender's Game movie script: Locke/Demonsthenes, the Mind Game, and the Battle School happenings before Salamander Army are all elements of the book which are rumored to be cut from the film, a rumor which has alarmed many fans. What about the sequels? How can you film the last chapter of the book and yet leave out the Giant's Drink?

All this talk of changes in the film got me thinking. I asked myself, "What could they change in the movie that would just absolutely ruin it for you?" The answer came to mind pretty quickly and, after a bit of digging, I found out something that made my stomach drop:

According to a super-secret anonymous source who is possibly risking his job by leaking this information, the Battle School students in the movie are most likely wearing socks under their flash suits/uniforms.
"I want to see your fart collection," Alai said.

"I stored it in your locker. Didn't you notice?"
 
"I thought it was my socks."
 
"We don't wear socks anymore."
 
"Oh yeah."
Betrayal, right? Thanks a lot, Clark. You have one job and...

I'm joking.

But seriously though, guys: Have a little faith. Ender's Game is a fantastic book. It's been my favorite since I was 14 years old with no real competition since. And the truth of the matter is, regardless of what happens, the movie cannot possibly ruin the book for anybody. It will go on being just as brilliant as before even if Hood has Petra proposing to Ender at the end of the film in a passionate, post-war haze.

And the best part: over the next year, we’re going to be flooded with filming news and updates. Later will come movie stills, trailers, and posters. It’s all going to be ridiculously exciting and fun. And if in the end we see the movie and it’s not our cup o' tea, who cares? We’ll have seen Battle School, flash suits, Mazer, Bean and Buggers. We’ll simply walk out of the theater, toss our popcorn buckets in the trash, and plan our Dragon Army costumes for Halloween 2013.

Dragon Army costumes with matching socks.

Official "Ender's Game" Production Blog Launches

Here it is, guys: Roberto Orci and the team behind Ender's Game have launched the official movie production blog, a Tumblr which will give fans the opportunity to peek a bit behind-the-scenes and check out what's been going on over at the Michoud Assembly Facility these past few weeks and in the upcoming ones. Updated every Wednesday! Check it out!

© 2012 Ender's Game Holdings LLC
It took us all a second to realize Asa was right when he said Ender’s Game was an amazing book from “the late 1900s.”  We use that phrase all the time now, like, “Clinton was President in the late nineteen hundreds!”  Most of us read Ender’s Game when we were young and wondered when it would become a movie.  We never dreamed then that we would all be part of the team to bring it to the screen, nor did we realize the novel’s description of our world would be so prescient that its vision would still be unfolding before our very eyes today. And now, watching Asa bring a character to life who has been on our minds since our youth, we realize things happen for a reason.  We were waiting for him.  Make yourself comfortable, Ender!
A big chair to fill, indeed.


Exclusive: Cameron Gaskins as Pol Slattery (Rumor)

Ender News received an anonymous tip today that 17-year-old Cameron Gaskins, most recently seen in the teen comedy The Greening of Whitney Brown, has been cast in Ender's Game as Pol Slattery. Our source tells us that the role was originally written as Rose the Nose but evolved into Slattery at some point in the script-writing/production process.

Pol Slattery is a Battle School student who, when we first meet him, is the commandor of Leopard Army. We later find him commanding Badger Army when they go head-to-head with Dragon in the Battle Room.

Gaskins is meant to be arriving in New Orleans sometime this week and will begin filming on Monday, March 26th.

Thanks for the tip!

Orci Announces Behind-the-Scenes Production Blog on Tumblr

If Robert Orci's latest tweet is anything to go by, Ender's Game fans are in for a bit of a surprise:

(Source)
This Tuesday, an Official Production Blog will launch on Tumblr, with a behind-the-scenes look at Ender's Game -- and all the craziness that comes along with the creative process of making a big-budget Hollywood movie.

I'm ridiculously excited -- this could mean more pictures, interviews, even videos.  Tumblr is a great platform to share media with fans, and as the Ansible pointed out, Lionsgate/Summit know how to pull it off well.

And we only have to wait until tomorrow! I think Orci did us a huge favor by not announcing it a week or so in advance.

Looking forward to it? Anyone have any ideas of what sort of content we'll be seeing? :)

Possible Cuts: Peter/Valentine on the Nets, Fantasy Game?

Last October, Geek Tyrant wrote a lengthy letter to Hollywood which discussed the upcoming Ender's Game movie and why the author feels it should under no circumstances be made into PG-rated kids' entertainment, a sentiment I believe we all share.

The reply he received was not from Hollywood but from Orson Scott Card himself. You can read the letter in its entirety here, but I've copied what I feel to be the most important parts below (contains spoilers):
"Also, the book would make a movie that was at least four hours long.  Much has to be cut - including all of Peter's and Valentine's online exploits, the mind game, and much of the incidental material before Ender gets into Bonzo's army.
    
In short, much will be omitted.  But I remain confident that as long as the character of Ender himself, with his relationships with other kids, is in the movie, it will still be Ender's Game to my own satisfaction and the satisfaction of the fans.
[...] 
Again, thanks for your interest in EG and for caring that the film be done well.  But here is my own source of greatest confidence:  The movie will not erase a single word of the book!  That's how I endure knowing that Peter Jackson committed the repulsive crime of removing the Scouring of the Shire from the Lord of the Rings movie, which is akin to removing the last chapter from EG.  THAT, at least, I know will not happen in the EG movie."
This letter is from October 2011, mere weeks before Asa Butterfield was officially cast as Ender. I suppose if anyone was going to know intimate details about the script at that time, it would have been him, especially since Gavin Hood's version of the script was a re-write of one of Card's.

I admit to being disappointed that most of the Valentine/Peter escapades are most likely not going to make it into the movie, but it's understandable that many scenes taking place on Earth would be cut. And Card had previously mentioned in an earlier interview that most of the Battle School going-ons before Salamander Army were going to be omitted entirely.

But Free Play? The fantasy game? If they plan on including the final chapter, how will Ender understand that the Formics had left him a message unless he recognizes the Giant and the playground? I suppose they'll find a way around it, but it seems an almost unnecessary change.

Truthfully, I think I was just looking forward to seeing Ender's little character whimsically dig into the Giant's eye and meet the jolly bat. I'm fond of that bat, really.

What do you guys think? Do the cuts mentioned above make sense to you? Which scenes do you think are pivotal to the plot and should not be left out?

"Ender's Game" Cast at Cafe du Monde


Starting at the boy in the middle and making your way clockwise around the table: Brendan Meyer (had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict), Jimmy Jax Pinchak (Peter), Moises Arias (Bonzo), Abigail Breslin (Valentine), Aramis Knight (Bean), and Brandon Soo Hoo (Fly Molo).

Thanks to the Ansible for the tip!

Be sure to check out our Gallery for other pictures of the "Ender's Game" cast. :)

Breslin: Stunt Double?

While browsing IMDB this past week, I noticed that Valentine actress Abigail Breslin has a stunt double listed: Kristina Baskett. With a huge background in collegiate gymnastics, Baskett has done a lot of stunt work for ABC's Make It Or Break It, a teen drama about elite gymnasts and their struggles on the road to the Olympic Games. She can also be seen as a stunt double in the upcoming comedy film The Baytown Disco which is being released later this year.

My question is: Why does Valentine Wiggin's actress need a stunt double? And, if a stunt double is needed, why a gymnast? I've been racking my brain trying to think of any instance in the book of Valentine even getting her nails dirty, and I'm coming up blank.

Here are the scenes from the book I recall Valentine appearing in (possible spoilers):

- Ender leaving for Battle School
- Demosthenes/Locke
- Graff and the Letter
- The Lake
- Speaker for the Dead

I suppose the scene on the lake seems the most likely but I doubt they have Valentine doing swan dives off the raft. Perhaps Breslin isn't overly comfortable in the water? Or maybe they've added a scene where she and Peter scuffle in the woods and she does some tree-top acrobatics... a bit out-of-character, but theoretically cool.

What do you guys think? Is there something I don't understand about the term "stunt" as opposed to "body" double? Could it possibly just be a standard contractual agreement? Have they turned the middle Wiggin into a ninja? Someone help me out here.

Edit - Some new ideas: Katy in the comments pointed out that Valentine occasionally appears in Ender's dreams and also the Fantasy Game, both of which are occasions a stunt double may need to be used. :)

Breslin Wraps

It appears Abigail Breslin has finished filming her scenes for Ender's Game, a little over 2 weeks after principal photography began on February 27. Breslin will be playing "Valentine Wiggin," Ender's genius older sister and part-time confidant.

From Twitter:



We here at Ender News wish her well and the very best of luck in her upcoming projects.

Costuming Ender's Game: Christine Bieselin Clark

Christine Bieselin Clark, the costume designer for the Ender's Game movie, has already more than a little experience in outfitting characters in the worlds of science fiction. Apart from being the assistant costume designer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which was also directed by Gavin Hood), she was also involved in the costuming behind 300, Watchman and TRON: Legacy.

Watchmen (2009)
In an interview with Craigh Barboza back in August, Clark admits to perhaps being a bit of a "techno geek," mentioning that she enjoys costuming a sci-fi movie because of the technology used in the creative process. She also mentions having previously researched the source material behind the films she's working on in order to add small details to costumes fans would appreciate - something I think every Ender's Game fan will be excited to hear.

In the same interview, Clark admitted that the most demanding costumes she's ever had to develop were the ones from TRON: Legacy. She remarks:
We were working with technologies and materials that weren’t even fully developed in order to get the suits to illuminate. In a matter of months we had to perfect a technical system that would illuminate hundreds of costumes while maintaining mobility and function. Oh yes, and they had to look great too! That was very challenging, trying to keep the integrity of the design aesthetic while meeting the technical demands. I’m getting tired just thinking about it!
Sound like something we're familiar with? Here is a description of the launchy flash suits in Ender's Game:
It was the largest compartment that contained the prize. It looked like a spacesuit at first glance, complete with helmet and gloves. [...] It was thickly padded. It was also a little stiff.
TRON: Legacy (2010)
The Battle Room will be the perfect place for Digital Domain's visual effects team to show off a bit, and I don't expect the stars to be as simple as the "huge brown boxes" that are described in the book. It's therefore easy to imagine that the flash suits will also be a bit more... well, flashy, perhaps lighting up when frozen or having some sort of fluorescent quality in the dark. It will also be interesting to see how Clark interprets the "flamboyant" look of the suits of the individual armies: color-coded to be sure, but will each army have their own sort of badge? How different will what they wear during their free play be from what they have on in the Battle Room? Since I very much doubt there will be any "skinning" going on in the barracks, will there be standard Battle School pajamas?

Christine Bieselin Clark seems like the perfect choice for Ender's Game and I think it's safe to really look forward to seeing what she comes up with. Apart from Battle School uniforms, I'm also curious as to how she dresses the Wiggin family and Ender's schoolmates. What will we be wearing in the future? I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm really hoping "sagging" will have died out by then.

A Friday EN Roundup

  • I've added a mini-bio for Caleb J. Thaggard (Stilson) to the cast page which you can view here.
     
  • The gallery is working! Right now there are a lot of fun pictures the cast have posted on Twitter... a lot of them very similar to this:

Asa Butterfield and Aramis Knight ... and their PS Vitas 
They're being super cool about posting pictures, giving us an idea of what they're up to while we're all stuck doing something that is probably not as exciting as filming Ender's Game. Really kind of them, in my opinion. 

  • Our friends over at the Ansible posted an article which gives us a look at how the Battle School students' desks are possibly going to look, plus some interesting filming gossip.

  • As I mentioned before, soon the Battle Room discussions area is going to have an even cooler function: you're going to be able to use your accounts to join armies and compete against each other to see which army will make it to the top of the standings. I'm not going to tell you exactly how yet, but start thinking about which army you'd like to join (and don't say "Dragon") -- and perhaps consider brushing up on your creative skills. :)

That's it for now! Hope you're all well!

Kelly

Official: Caleb J. Thaggard to play Stilson in "Ender's Game"

Brendan Meyer announced on his Facebook page this afternoon that, due to a scheduling conflict, he will no longer be playing Stilson in Ender's Game:
Hey guys. Unfortunately, I had to leave the cast of Ender's Game due to a last minute scheduling conflict. Although I'm disappointed, I wish the cast and crew all the best with this awesome movie. I'll be announcing my new & exciting projects in the next couple of days, so keep an eye out. Thanks for your support! (Source)
An unfortunate situation, but Meyer is a busy actor and we at Ender News wish him all the best with his upcoming projects.

A big, warm welcome to Mr. Caleb J. Thaggard who will be replacing Meyer as Stilson. :)

"Ender's Game" at Space Camp

Earlier last month, while we were all anxiously waiting for principal photography on the "Ender's Game" movie to begin, Asa Butterfield (Ender) and other members of his Jeesh were off enjoying Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. 

Members of the cast earned these
 in Space Camp training
Source: Aramis Knight
Space Camp exists to give young people a chance to explore their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (what they call "STEM") and presents an overview of the history of space exploration, while at the same time encouraging teamwork and developing leadership abilities. According to their website, Space Camp "has become known as one of the premier math/science/technology educational programs in the United States."

Programs are available for people of all ages, giving them the opportunity to not only train as an astronaut, but also as a jet-fighter pilot in their "Aviation Challenge" program. The center also works together with U.S. schools and institutions to create special programs for the blind, deaf, and hard-of-hearing communities.

Amee Halbach, the Media & Communications Strategist at the facility, mentioned the visit last month in an email interview with White Bear Press:
We are also hosting the cast of 2013 sci-fi movie "Ender's Game," and they will go through our Space Camp and Aviation Challenge programs to inspire some quality team-building before they start filming.
 Did the team-building work? We'll let this photo from their recent trip to the Audubon Zoo speak for itself:

Left to right: Aramis Knight (Bean), Suraj Partha (Alai) and Asa Butterfield (Ender)
Source: Aramis Knight
For more information about Space Camp and its programs, visit their website. :)

Ongoing Rumor: Thaggard, Meyer, Stilson? Hmm.

Photo from IMDB.com
A few days ago, we reported about an interview Brendan Meyer gave which seemed to make it clear that he was playing the role of Stilson, despite rumors to the contrary after Caleb Thaggard was credited with the role in last week's press release.

Meyer is quoted as saying, "My character is Stilson, and he is kind of a bully to Ender at the beginning of the movie. At the start of the film, I give him a hard time and the movie shows how he reacts to me and what I'm doing to him." (Source)

So where does that leave Caleb Thaggard? After doing a bit of googling, it does seem that he's involved in the movie somehow. The question is: how?

My super cool theory: There are secretly two Stilsons, as Stilson is possibly the boy's last name. Caleb here is playing canon!Stilson's older brother who left for Battle School years ago. He collides with Ender accidentally in Null-G and, after realizing they are sort-of acquainted, this Stilson tells Ender about his little brother who really only hated Ender because of his Peter-esque jealousy issues regarding the monitor. Also, I'm pretty sure he'll be in Lion Army because look at that boy's hair.  :)

I'm sure I'm close, right?

( Please keep in mind that my above theory is just silliness and isn't to be taken for anything even remotely approaching "news." )

I'm sure we'll hear something soon. In the meantime, keep checking back, and let us know if you have anything to add!

Harrison Ford in New Orleans

Harrison Ford, the man who will be playing Colonel Graff in the upcoming Ender's Game movie, was spotted Friday in New Orleans.


Thanks to On Location Vacations and their reader Scott for the photo!

Interview: Brendan Meyer

LA Teen Festival published an interview with Brendan Meyer in this month's issue of their magazine which you can read in full here (pages are turnable at the bottom).

Brendan speaks about:
- his love for Shakespeare (Twelfth Night, Titus, and Richard III are his favorites)
- his role on Disney as Mr. Young in Disney XD
- possibly one day working behind the scenes
- which actors he'd love to work with
- being a huge golf fan!

The interview also makes it very clear that he will be playing the role of Stilson -- so consider that rumor to the contrary squashed until we specifically hear otherwise.

Edit - March 07, 2012 - Due to a scheduling conflicing, Meyer will no longer be playing the role of "Stilson" in Ender's Game. He has been replaced by Caleb J. Thaggard.

 Check it out!