If you’ve read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, you know one of the biggest challenges for writer-director Gavin Hood was bringing the Battle Room to life.
When Ender (Asa Butterfield) is recruited by the International Fleet, he’s sent into space to Battle School to learn how to defend the planet against the Formics, an alien race that nearly decimated humanity and is expected to return. While there are classes in Battle School, the central element of the curriculum is actually a game.
While on the film’s NASA Michoud Assembly Facility set in New Orleans, producer Linda McDonough explained, “They have two different ‘gates.’ They accumulate points by hitting each other with these lasers. The lasers don’t injure you; they freeze parts of your suit. But if either team is able to get a man through the other team’s gate, they completely win the battle.” Now just picture all of that in a zero-gravity environment.
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How do you make a movie set in the future about a six-year-old recruited by the military to wipe out an invading alien race? If the answer were simple, perhaps Ender’s Game would have been adapted to film far sooner. Orson Scott Card’s novel was first published back in 1985, after which the rights sat at Warner Bros. for 12 years, the film never making it past the development stage. Finally, the rights lapsed and Linda McDonough and her producing team snatched them up to make the movie their way — independently. As she proudly points out, “We think we may be the largest independently financed film ever put together.”
Directed by Gavin Hood, Ender’s Game features a young boy named Ender (Asa Butterfield) who’s plucked from his family on Earth and shipped off to Battle School to train with the International Fleet (IF) in the hopes that he’ll be able to save the human race from the alien Formics by using their own colony, Eros, as a vantage point.
If you were keeping track, that makes three key locations — Earth, Battle School, and Eros. Even though Ender’s Game isn’t some $200 million mega budget project, the filmmakers were still hell-bent on creating fully realized versions of each realm, down to the tiniest detail.
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Before fielding rapid-fire Q&A questions at the Ender’s Game panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld sat down and had some fun telling us how they might fare if they ever really had to compete in the Ender’s Game Battle Room.
At this year’s Comic-Con
Butterfield and Steinfeld sat down to talk about being suspended in a zero gravity environment, and something called a “hamster wheel” but for people. Said Steinfeld:
“We were training in terms of strengthening our core and all this intense stuff… and we got there and none of it came in handy because you’re literally out there on wires, like, feet up in the air.”
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Take a Virtual Tour Through the ‘Ender’s Game’ Fan Experience at Comic-Con
Bummed you didn’t get to check out Battle School on the Ender’s Game set first hand? We’ve got you covered. Disappointed you didn’t make it out to San Diego for Comic-Con this year? We’ve still got you covered because not only did Movies.com get a preview of theEnder’s Game Fan Experience, but we’ve also got a video walkthrough of the facility so you can check out some of the set pieces, props and costumes for yourself.
The setup consisted of various rooms all made up of actual items used in the film. First stop, the Wiggin home on Earth, which closely resembles your average living room, adorned with throw pillows, books and family photos. From there it’s into the spaceship that transports young Ender from Earth to Battle School in space, and then it’s off to the Battle School itself, first for a peek at the dormitory setup and then into a classroom setting, appropriately featuring some encouraging words from Harrison Ford’s Colonel Graff.
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Interview: Hugo’s Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Moretz And More
What better way to spend the most magical time of year than by seeing a particularly magical and inspiring movie? No, this isn’t a review – that you can find right here – but there’s really no way to talk about Hugo without being swept right back up by that incredible adventure.
Based on Brian Selznick’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo tells the tale of a young orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who keeps the clocks running in a 1930s Paris train station by day and tries to finish his deceased father’s work by night, restoring an old automaton. In attempt to find the pieces to fix the elaborate machine, Hugo targets Georges Méliès’ (Sir Ben Kingsley) train station toy stand. And yes, that’s Georges Méliès as in the iconic filmmaker of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Méliès catches Hugo in the act and after finding some stolen goods and Hugo’s notebook of automaton instructions, rather than merely reprimand him, Méliès is so distressed by his findings he takes and threatens to burn Hugo’s notebook. However, with the help of Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), Hugo not only comes closer to fixing the automaton, but fixing Méliès, too.
In honor of Hugo’s November 23rd release, a large portion of the gang assembled for a press conference. Producer Graham King, screenwriter John Logan, the station inspector Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisette the flower shop owner Emily Mortimer, Moretz, Butterfield, Kingsley and novelist Brian Selznick all came out to talk about working with Scorsese, dabbling in film history while making a film and so much more. Check out some of the highlights in the transcription below.
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Part of the beauty of filmmaking, is the ability to transport viewers to another reality. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, filmmaker Georges Méliès seized the opportunity to put stop tricks and painted film cells to use, combining his skills as a magician and filmmaker to, quite literally, bring dreams to life. Ultimately, we’re still doing the very same thing today, but with the wildly advanced technology and more thorough understanding of storytelling, director Martin Scorsese has created one of the most successful attempts at bringing an audience into the movie with Hugo.
It’s the 1930s in Paris, France. After losing his father (Jude Law) in a terrible fire, young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is forced to live with his only relative, his uncle, Claude (Ray Winstone). A far from responsible drunk, Claude pulls Hugo out of school and shows him the ropes at work, teaching Hugo to keep the clocks running at a Paris train station. And it’s a good thing, too, because when Claude leaves Hugo to his lonesome, it’s up to Hugo to keep things timely.
When he isn’t tending to his train station duties, Hugo is hard at work at the one thing his father left behind, an automaton. Hugo regularly snatches up food and milk from the train station vendors and also frequents grumpy old Georges Méliès’ (Ben Kingsley) toy stand, a place prime for automaton part collecting. When Méliès catches Hugo in the act, he demands the boy empty his pockets. Amidst the usual mess of rogue toy parts is a notebook with automaton drawings and instructions that oddly rub Méliès the wrong way. When Méliès takes Hugo’s precious notebook, Hugo turns to Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), for help and the two discover they have a lot to offer one another, Isabelle helping Hugo get his automaton up and running and Hugo giving Isabelle a taste of adventure.
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Interview: Kiss-Ass’ Chloe Moretz
Kick-Ass made a decent $96 million worldwide, but when it comes to the caliber of the film it deserves so much more. Lucky for all of you folks who missed it in the theaters, Kick-Ass is set to hit DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, July 3rd. In honor of the release, star Chloe Moretz took some time to chat about the film that transformed her from an up and coming actress into one of the industry’s most sought after young stars.
She plays Mindy Macready, also known as Hit Girl. Her father, Damon, or Big Daddy, raised her to be the ruthless crime fighter she is today. Hit Girl and Big Daddy are as real as anything when it comes to superheroes sans powers, but Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) is another story and when both he and the father daughter duo end up with a common enemy, they’ve got to kick some ass together.
Even as her career becomes a whirlwind of success and more and more films, Moretz still had tons to share about her experience on this set. But, of course, now that major offers are coming her way, we had to talk about her upcoming projects. Check out what Moretz had to say about her fond Kick-Ass memories and to get a taste of what she’ll have to offer in the coming years.
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