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Ender's Game: A Journey of Passion From Book to Big Screen

We have said over and over that Ender's Game is a project which was borne out of a love of Ender's story and yesterday Grantland's Matt Patches published a riveting piece on how very true that is. In his article, he follows the adaptations long journey to Hollywood, a journey he calls a "rare Hollywood miracle."

And he's right: Ender's Game has been considered a completely unfilmable film since the book's publication in 1985, even by Orson Scott Card himself. But that doesn't mean many studios and producers haven't tried: the article gives a detailed explanation of the various attempts to to get Ender on the big screen and it is an exhausting list. It's no wonder Card was frustrated!



Thankfully, long-time fans of the book like Lynn Hendee were determined:
"I've always thought it was going to take years to get this movie made because it's going to take the fans of the book who read it in their wonder years to grow old enough and be in positions of decision-making," said Lynn Hendee, a producer of Ender's Game who came onboard the project in the mid-'90s. Hendee was right.
And so was Gigi Pritzker!
To the rescue came Gigi Pritzker, founder of OddLot Entertainment and a die-hard fan of the novel. Like Hendee, Pritzker's gut told her Ender's Game was a perfect movie waiting to happen. [...]  Pritzker and OddLot set out to find a team that understood the treasured tome. The key was finding a writer-director who could build the movie from the ground up and carry it to the end, their very own Ender. Pritzker found him in Hood, a South African filmmaker who brought his memories of apartheid and life in the military to the project. After a turbulent experience on the ill-fated X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where multiple writers tinkered with the script on a daily basis in the middle of shooting, Hood craved the immersion required for Ender's Game. He had a vision: a script that would allow a preteen actor to engage with challenging, emotionally raw material. That was all Pritzker needed to hear.
Hendee then found writer-turned-producer Bob Orci, another long-term fan of the book, who played an important role in the adaptation process:
Orci became the movie's Card proxy — a devout fan without a preservationist instinct. When the team felt it couldn't make changes to aspects of the book, Orci would say, "Sure we can — I'm the guy who blew up Vulcan! I know what we can do and can't do."
The rest of the article details the early-stages of development -- where did the money come from? -- as well as casting and the production choices. It really is quite a read; afterward I had a whole new appreciation for the incredible film I saw Monday night in LA.

And soon you will all have seen it too as Ender's Game hits US theaters today. It is also Halloween, so I shall don my Dragon Army flight suit this evening and pass out candy to all the future Launchies. I could even throw in some Comic-Con army badges to mix things up - maybe even catch a midnight showing! I'm not sure many people could have imagined such a scenario a few years ago, but I am immensely grateful that there were some who did.

"You have to be insanely optimistic all the time when you're passionate about something," Hendee said of her lengthy journey through the darkest depths of Hollywood's creative development process. "You have to believe it's going to happen. The character's story of Ender's Game moved me so much. I believe that such a wonderful story about character … there had to be a way to get that onscreen."

And she was right: Ender's Game hits US theaters tonight!
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