Nonso Anozie on his role as Sergeant Dap: "I'm just angry all the time."

Online magazine The Root recently spoke with actor Nonso Anozie about working as a black actor, his role in Game of Thrones, and his upcoming appearance as "Sergeant Dap" in Ender's Game:  
TR: Tell me about Ender's Game, the movie you're filming in New Orleans with Viola Davis.

NA: It's starring Hugo's Asa Butterfield -- we worked together on Nanny McPhee Returns -- Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley. Ender's Game is set 60 years from now; Earth has been attacked by aliens, and we are preparing a pre-emptive attack on the [next set of] intruders. It's really dark, actually. I'm a hard-ass in this one. In The Grey I was a bit soft and friendly; in Game of Thrones, Xaro is smooth; and in Ender's Game, I'm just angry all the time. I like the variances of characters I get to play.

In the book, Dap functions as a sort of maternal-figure to the new students (Launchies) as they acclimate to Battle School, the only person there who is "paid to be nice to [them]." He explains how to navigate the ship, advises them generally regarding behavior, and essentially tucks them in at night. Later in the novel, he reports to General Pace (Chief of the I.F. military police) and warns him about Bonzo's plot against Ender.

Doesn't really sound like the job of a "hard-ass," does it?

However, look at this quote from Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card from 2010:
We have to cut out a lot. I mean I can tell you that the plan right now is Ender agrees to go to battle school there at home and the next thing we see is he’s walking in the door to Bonzo’s army and everything in between is there to read in the book. But we will cut straight to the chase because we have to get him out of Battle School halfway through this movie or we don’t have time to make the ending work. That’s what we found out draft after draft. (YouTube)
Again, this is a rather old quote, but if the majority of the "Launchie" phase is skipped (which seems likely to be the case), it would make perfect sense that the Sergeant Dap of the movie is going to be different than the Dap of the book.

What do you think he's so angry about? Possibly about the way Ender is being treated by those with authority in Battle School? Or do you think Dap is on Graff's side? Let us know in the comments!

Production Blog #6 -- Gavin Hood, a Storyboard, and a Dare

The latest production blog has given us a picture of director Gavin Hood on the set of Ender's Game, along with a storyboard and a dare from Roberto Orci:

(Twitter)


"Let's just hang the kids from bungee chords, roll camera for ten hours and see what we get!"  That was plan A.  Which is why we are not directing the movie and instead Gavin Hood is.  We never thought we would find a bigger fan of the novel than all of us until Gavin walked in the room.  Going back to his roots, Gavin decided to take on the challenge of adapting the novel himself, which gives him a huge advantage when it comes to directing it because he knows his script better than any of us.  And given the time limitations inherent in working with young actors, this movie would be impossible to complete without Gavin's preparation and passion.  Here you see him crossing off a completed shot of his detailed story boards in the zero g battle room where our young actors, in their zero g training suits, are showing off the high flying skills they've learned from our veteran stunt coordinator Garrett Warren.

How much, indeed? Who wants to give it a go?

My friend Aidan sent in a couple zoomed in/stretched images that might help us out a bit:


Click here and here to enlarge!

The bottom left seems to be a picture of Ender (or one of the kids) using some sort of hand-held controller -- the game room, maybe? Or possibly the Command School's simulator?

Elizabeth from the Ansible made some great points: I see what you're saying, how it looks like it might be Ender at the controls of something, particularly that third sketch down. However, I have another idea: I think those first two images might be Ender (or other soldiers) jumping/falling into the battleroom. The third image down might be a shot from behind as they "fall." And I think the bottom left image is Ender holding his gun with both hands. He's wearing a space-suit type helmet, implying to me that he's in the battleroom and not in the game room. What do you think?

Comment and let us know what you can make out from the storyboard!

--

Don't forget: the official production blog is updated every Wednesday by Roberto Orci and the team behind Ender's Game, so follow them on Tumblr so you don't miss out!

Ender News is also on Tumblr - it's a great place to stay up-to-date with not only the latest in movie news, but also fan art, Ender's Game book reviews, and what the cast is up to on Twitter.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

MTV Speaks with Bobby Cohen

MTV recently spoke with producer Bobby Cohen (KO Paper Products) in New Orleans on the set of his upcoming movie Now You See Me, where he had the following to say about the Ender's Game film:
"First of all, I have the great pleasure to work with [producers] Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci... [It's] based on the incredible book that people have been trying to make forever. A lot of directors have tried to do it. We have an amazing script. Gavin Hood is directing, we've got Harrison Ford, Sir Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit, Asa Butterfield from Hugo."
 He also speaks a bit about the facility in which Ender's Game is currently shooting:
"There is a N.A.S.A. stage where they literally used to build the rockets for the space shuttle that is now actually a sound stage," he said. "They will be spending 65 some odd days about 45 minutes from here on a big giant set. So that's going well."
As we reported back in February, Ender's Game seems to be doing the majority of its filming at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, a facility left vacant after the discontinuation of NASA's space shuttle program and which is now being occupied in part by Big Easy Studios. We can only assume this is the location of the set to which Cohen is referring, or that it is at least nearby.

You can watch the full interview with Bobby Cohen here.

Filming is scheduled to continue in New Orleans through June 8th.

Edit: Just a heads-up that Bobby Cohen is not a producer of Ender's Game but rather the president of the film division at K/O Paper Products, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci's production company.

"Ender's World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender's Game" Available February 2013

Hey, Orson Scott Card fans! As our friends over at the Ansible posted a couple weeks ago, an Enderverse anthology is to be released early next year. Now we have a release date and a bit more info. From the site:
Cover by Nick Greenwood
Ender's World conscripts almost two dozen writers of science fiction, fantasy, and young adult books to offer new perspectives on the 1985 novel, along with insights gleaned from other Ender stories that fit within the Ender's Game chronology, including Ender in Exile and Ender's Shadow. In addition, military strategists Colonel Tom Ruby and Captain John Schmitt offer insight into the human-Formic war. A contribution from Aaron Johnson, the coauthor of the Formic Wars prequel novels, is also included.

The collection's insightful analyses and moving personal essays are rounded out with short pieces answering more technically oriented questions about the Ender universe, including: Why is the Battle Room a cube? and Why did the military recruit their soldiers as children?

Edited by Orson Scott Card himself, who also provides an introduction to the anthology as well as to the individual essays, Ender's World is aimed both at readers who have kept up with the many books that came after and at those who have not, but who loved and want to re-visit the original novel.
The cover of the book was created by illustrator and graphic design artist Nick Greenwood, under the supervision of Orson Scott Card -- we therefore seem to be getting a fairly accurate idea of what the Battle School looks like in Card's head. Is it how you've always pictured it?

Ender's World is set to be released in February of 2013, nine months before the movie hits theaters in November. If Card is editing the book and providing extra information about the state of Earth and Battle School during Ender's formative years, it seems natural to suppose this is some of the same information Card has given director Gavin Hood and the production team behind Ender's Game. Looks like we have something to look forward to early next year after all!

Visit Smart Pop Books to sign up to receive news and updates regarding Ender's World and keep checking Ender News for all the latest info regarding the upcoming Ender's Game movie!

Moises Arias - Happy 18th Birthday!

(Twitter)
Moises Arias turned 18 years old today and tweeted this photo of what seems to be a gathering of his friends and family for his birthday earlier this week.

Pictured: Asa Butterfield, Brandon Soo Hoo, Aramis Knight, Suraj Partha (and his sister!), Khylin Rhambo, Cameron Gaskins (Unsure), Brandon Soo Hoo, Hailee Steinfeld, Conor Carroll, and Moises Arias

Happy Birthday, Moises! We hope it's a good one.

Production Blog #5 -- Ender's Monitor

Hoooooly.

The Ender's Game production blog updated today with a picture of Ender's monitor. Check this out:


 Though Ender’s world is one worth saving, it sometimes comes with a price.  The novel was amazingly prescient about a great many things: remote controlled drone wars, the internet, the influence of blogging, hand held computing tablets like the I-Pad, and of course, electronic surveillance implants.  Implanted tracking and monitoring chips are no longer a science fiction concept.  They exist now.  And one day, they may be as advanced as the monitor implanted into Ender, which allows Colonel Graff to “see through his eyes” and know:  HE’S THE ONE.

I literally don't know what to say about this. It looks incredible and exactly how I imagined the monitor to look. What do you guys think? Comment and let us know!

And don't forget: the official production blog is updated every Wednesday by Roberto Orci and the team behind Ender's Game, so follow them on Tumblr so you don't miss out!

Ender News is also on Tumblr - it's a great place to stay up-to-date with not only the latest in movie news, but also fan art, Ender's Game book reviews, and what the cast is up to on Twitter.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

Happy Wednesday! :)

Production Blog #4 - Ender's World - A Look at Ender's Bedroom

Roberto Orci and the people behind the Ender's Game production blog have given us a really fun sneak peak at Ender Wiggin's bedroom this week:


The more futuristic the world, the more invisible its technology. So why shouldn’t Ender’s room look just like any normal kid’s room?  And not every future is a dark dystopia.  The world that Ender lives in is a world worth saving.  That’s why he is willing to leave his family to go into an orbiting Battle School and risk not seeing his sister, Valentine, again until they are both adults.  That doesn’t mean this world doesn’t have rules.  Ender’s parents had to get permission from the state to have a third child, and if Ender ever had any doubt if he was unwanted, his mother and father’s shock at having their son recruited to be a future leader and transferred to space makes it clear to him that they’ve always loved him.  They know that when Ender leaves the safety of his home, they will not be able to protect him any longer.  We will keep your room for you just as you left it, Ender…
I really like this one because I never imagined what Ender Wiggin's bedroom (whether he shared with Peter or not) would look like. In my head, I always pictured him in the sterile environment of Battle School or afterward when he had no real possessions of his own. 

In the world after the Second Invasion, it's great that the production team understands that a kid Ender's age would be absolutely obsessed with space and all that goes along with it: solar systems, space crafts, and Bugger masks would most likely be spilling out of their closets. Fun!

Don't forget: the production blog updates every Wednesday. :)

Casting Rumor: Jacob Leinbach to Portray Battle School Student "Mick"

A credible source informed us today that Jacob Leinbach, an American actor best known for his role as "Brad" in the coming of age drama The Wise Kids, will be portraying Battle School student "Mick" in the upcoming Ender's Game movie.

Mick is the older student who, in the novel, approaches Ender his first time in the mess hall, steals his pudding, and admits he's nothing really more than "half-iced bugger-fodder." He advises Ender to "kiss butts" if he has to so that he doesn't end up like him, the only student from his original launch group who doesn't yet command his own army.

Jacob began acting at age six when he was casted as "Theo" in a local theater production of Pippin.  He later appeared as orphaned child "Michael" in the WWII short Kilroy was Here and in the 2009 sci-fi thriller Eyeborgs.

"Ender's Game" Release Date Pushed to November 1st, 2013

Summit Entertainment has announced today that the Ender's Game film, previously expected to hit U.S. theaters on March 15, 2013, has been pushed back to a November 1st, 2013 release date.

As of right now, most sources seem fairly unsure as to why the release date has been moved to November, though many are speculating that it is due to production issues and the intense visual effects work needed to bring Ender's Game to the big screen.

We will add more info here as we find things out -- stay tuned!

Edit: Producer Roberto Orci just tweeted the following: "dont mean to make you wait a bit longer, but we just got a ridiculously good release date for #EndersGame. Nov 1st, 2013 - thanks 4 input!"

From a financial stand-point, the holiday season has proven to be a  great time of year to release a blockbuster such as Ender's Game and Summit is probably more than thrilled to occupy this time slot, though it is very close to Catching Fire, also by Summit, set to open November 22, 2013. Are they possibly trying to merge fanbases? The Hollywood Reporter suggests they might be:
Lionsgate and Summit hope to boost interest in Ender's Game by opening it so closely to Catching Fire, since they can use the Hunger Games sequel to publicize Ender's Game. Also, delaying the release will allow Summit and Lionsgate to market and publicize a fully finished film. (Hood is still shooting.)

Edit: Variety is reporting that "an informed source indicated that the November date may have greater potential for the start of a potential franchise film and will allow Summit to take advantage of promo opportunities at next year's Comic-Con in July."

Keep your eyes peeled for the production blog update this Wednesday -- perhaps the release date push will be addressed then.

Only 571 days to go! ;)

New Casting: Edrick Browne as Eros Technical Officer "Hendi"

IMDB
According to a reliable source, Edrick Browne,  currently filming on Quentin Tarrintino's film Django Unchained and who can also be seen in this year's horror-thriller Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, has been casted as "Hendi," a technical officer on the asteroid Eros, originally a Bugger/Formic colony on which Command School is located.

Browne is credited with strong supporting and leading roles in several major films and has also been offered a starring role in a top-secret film that will begin shooting later this year.

He is thrilled to be a part of the Ender's Game team!

Edit: Edrick Browne's character name has been changed on IMDB to "Tech Officer Howell." Since these details can be changed by people uninvolved with the Ender's Game film, we're unsure as to which name is correct. Will keep you updated!

New Roles in "Ender's Game" - Medical Personnel and Colonel Graff's Aide

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has once again been updated with some pretty interesting casting information:

Han Soto - Facebook
Han Soto, an actor who has over the past several years appeared as a minor character in many films and television series as well as done stunt work for the upcoming movie, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, has joined the Ender's Game cast and will appear alongside Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff's aide.

While no such character is specifically mentioned in the book, we can safely assume there are hundreds of Battle School staff members the readers are never introduced to, simply because many of them exist to Ender as nothing much more than background noise. As a Battle School administrator, Colonel Graff would most certainly have had an assistant.

Check out Han Soto's official site here or follow him on Twitter!

Wendy Miklovic and Joseph Uzzell
Two other characters have also been added to the cast: Wendy Miklovic and Joseph Uzzell are listed to be appearing in the Ender's Game movie as a doctor and a medic, respectively.

Miklovic, as well as working successfully as an actress, is also credited as a stunt performer in the box-office hit Green Lantern. According to IMDB, she also played the only female character in one of Universal Studios' Waterworld Spectacular shows.

Uzzell, too, has had other career pursuits besides acting: he spent many years as a street artist in the New Orleans French Quarter before moving northeast to join the corporate world. He is now back in NOLA and again working as an actor.

Whether these two characters are Battle School personnel or the doctors responsible for removing Ender's monitor at the beginning of the story is unclear at this time.

Producer Alex Kurtzman on the "Ender's Game" Adaptation: It Captures the Book's "Essence"

An MTV.com reporter recently spoke with producer Alex Kurtzman regarding his upcoming movie, People Like Us, and Kurtzman (co-writer and executive producer of the Star Trek film as well as the recent hit television series Fringe) had a few things to say about Ender's Game and its adaptation from book to film:
 "I'm really proud of the work everybody's done on "Ender's." Particularly because it's a very complicated sprawling book that a lot of people have tried for a very long time to figure out how to make," Kurtzman said.

 "[Director] Gavin Hood, the minute that we read his script we realized that in a miraculous way he'd managed to distill down the essence of the book and the big moves to a very understandable clear format," the writer continued. "He had made changes that were I think totally protective of the novel, he hasn't changed any of the plot, it's just about not being able to put all of it in one movie. He really distills it down to its essence in a beautiful way and that was an amazing thing to see. It's an amazing thing to see the movie come to life because it's such a special and different movie."
Kurtzman also had nothing but praises for the cast:
"Asa [Butterfield] is unbelievable in it. Hailee [Steinfeld] and Abigail [Breslin] are incredible. Harrison [Ford] and Viola [Davis] are just, they're weirdly exactly what you imagined when you read the book, or at least I did," he admitted. "It's really going to be a special movie. We're about halfway through it, maybe close to halfway but it's been a wonderful shoot so far."

"We're just happy to support the vision of the book," he added. "It's such a treasured novel and it's very rare that you get an opportunity to work on something like that so we were very psyched." (MTV)
So? Does this ease your worries or are you still concerned about the movie being untrue to the novel?

Somehow, it seems as though Ender's Game fans should be less and less worried about whether or not the Battle School kids are wearing socks.

Production Blog #3 - Ender’s Days - Space Camp!


Hey, guys! Post #3 from the official production blog takes us behind-the-scenes at Space Camp! Check out what Asa, Aramis, Moises and Suraj were up to in February, before filming had even started:

© 2012 Ender's Game Holdings LLC
 “Houston, we have a problem.  We don’t know how to land the Shuttle.” Good thing it’s just a simulator safely on the ground at SPACE CAMP in Huntsville, Alabama.  Aramis, Moises, Asa & Suraj (pictured above from a monitor in the MISSION CONTROL ROOM ) and the rest of our cast agreed that to do Ender’s Game right, they had to train as though they were really headed into ZERO G.  And this wasn’t just an afternoon spent taking a vanity tour. From the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), which simulates extra-vehicular shuttle ­missions in Earth’s orbit, to the microgravity training chair that prepared astronauts for moonwalks during the Apollo program, the week at Space Camp was genuine prep for the feeling of reality that this movie deserves. And after all, the army that trains together stays together.
It's exciting to know that the actors working on Ender's Game are taking Zero G seriously -- after an experience at Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, they should be very well prepared, indeed.

You can read more about Space Camp here. :)

Happy Wednesday!

About: Asa Butterfield - Happy 15th Birthday!


Name: Asa Butterfield (IMDB / Twitter)
Role: Ender Wiggin
Birthday: April 1, 1997

Asa Butterfield was born and raised in Islington, London where, when he's not away filming, he lives with his parents and younger sister, Loxie. He also has an older brother, Morgan, who is a drummer.

Butterfield caught the acting bug when he was 7 and started taking part in a local children's theater. He made his first television appearance in the movie After Thomas (2006) where he played a young autistic boy and a year later he was casted in Son of Rambow (2007), a coming-of-age story about two boys who set out to create an amateur film.

According to Wikipedia, he enjoys school, friends, piano, squash, reading, video games, and his cats.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 

Butterfield stepped into the limelight in 2008 when he appeared as "Bruno" in Mark Herman's World War II drama, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. After seeing his audition tape and meeting with him in person, Herman was so impressed with his natural, believable performance that he was instantly ready to cast him but decided to audition hundreds of other hopefuls before giving the role to Butterfield so that "no stone was left unturned."

as Bruno
When asked how much he knew about the Holocaust, Butterfield, like most kids his age, only had a vague idea. In order to allow the boy to keep the wide-eyed innocence he needed to bring across on screen as Bruno, the director chose not to tell him any more than he already knew. They also, contrary to common practice, opted to film the final scenes last in order to give Butterfield and the young boy playing Schmul, Jack Scanlon, time to prepare for the tragic ending of the film.

Merlin and More Movies

After appearing in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Butterfield secured a role in an episode of the BBC drama Merlin, where he played Mordred, a young Druid boy who is rumored to grow up to be the downfall of King Arthur. He appeared as Mordred in subsequent episodes in 2009 but Mordred was recently re-casted by an older actor, Alexander Vlahos, most likely because of conflicts with Butterfield's filming schedule.

as Mordred
Also in 2009, Butterfield was casted in and filmed the movie The Wolfman (2010), playing a younger version of Simon Merrells' character, Ben. Afterward he went on to appear alongside Emma Thompson and Dame Maggie Smith in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010), a role for which he was positively reviewed.

Most recently, Asa Butterfield can be seen as the title character in Martin Scorsese's Hugo, starring alongside many notable actors such as Sir Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee and Jude Law. The film opened to extremely positive reviews and was nominated for 11 Oscars, the most of the evening. It won 5 of those awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.


as Hugo
Ender's Game

In November of 2011, after much speculation surrounding his name and the role, Asa Butterfield was officially cast as Ender Wiggin in the upcoming Ender's Game movie. Filming began in New Orleans on February 24, 2012 and is set to finish on June 8th.

Fun Fact

At the age of 5, Asa Butterfield appeared on the cover of "Better than Working" by Patrick Skene Catling, an autobiography of a British man who started his career in the airforce and then went on to become a war journalist. You can view the cover here. :)

Happy Birthday, Asa!