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Friday, November 1, 2013

‘Ender’s Game’ Director Says Focus On The Message, Not The Author

The sci-fi movie “Ender’s Game” hits the big screen today. The film shows a world preparing for an attack from bug-like aliens, the Formics. The military has decided that children make the best solders, so Ender Wiggin is recruited to battle school a very young age.

Director and screenwriter Gavin Hood (left) talks with Harrison Ford, who plays Colonel Graff on the set of the new movie "Ender's Game." (Richard Foreman Jr., SMPSP, © 2013 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

Director and screenwriter Gavin Hood (left) talks with Harrison Ford, who plays Colonel Graff on the set of the new movie “Ender’s Game.” (Richard Foreman Jr., SMPSP, © 2013 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

The film is based on a book of the same name by Orson Scott Card, who is controversial for his anti-gay marriage stance. In 2008, he wrote an opinion piece for the Deseret News saying that a government that allowed for gay marriage should be overthrown. He recently told the Deseret News that he stands by his remarks.

The LGBT group Geeks Out is calling for a boycott of the movie, though those behind the movie say he won’t profit from the film.

The movie stars Asa Butterfield, only 12 at the time of filming, as Ender. Harrison Ford plays Ender’s stern commanding officer, Colonel Graff.

Gavin Hood, who directed the movie and wrote the screenplay, joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the film. Hood says the message of the story and of the film is one of acceptance, tolerance and even love for the enemy, and that those are the messages he’d like the audience to focus on.

“My position on gay marriage and gay rights is fundamentally the opposite to his,” Hood says. “But here’s how I feel: I love Orson Scott Card’s book. So do many gay and straight people. And I imagine lots of people holding that book up and saying, Orson, we love what you said in this book. What you said in this book about compassion and tolerance and empathy for the other is what we love about this book, and I think we should celebrate that.”


  • Gavin Hood, screenwriter and director of the movie “Ender’s Game.”

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  • Kathy

    Mr. Card’s views go far beyond opposing equal marriage rights for gay people. He’s outright called for gay people to be prosecuted and jailed in order to send the message to young people that gay people “cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”

    Further he has not simply stated his opinions and moved on with his writing, but he has worked actively in the political system to deny gay people their rights, not only in marriage, but in all aspects of life.

    Perhaps instead of admonishing us to ignore the hatemonger behind the curtain, he should spend his time looking for a project that wasn’t written and produced by one of the most vile anti-gay bigots in the United States.


  • Justaguy

    Some of us were born with a predilection to find gay-ness distasteful and wrong. Quite similar to the way we feel about incest. Why is the media and the gay movement, with their constant drumbeat, trying to change us and demonize anyone that doesn’t follow their politically correct thinking?

    • PoliticsWatcher

      I was born with a predilection to find bigots distasteful and wrong. Why are you trying to demonize anyone who doesn’t follow your thinking?

      • Justaguy

        Insults in place of reason.

        • Mr Freeze

          I’m curious, what’s so “reasonable” about your predilection?

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/incurable-ennui,70820/ Incurable Ennui

          Actually – he used your exact same argument. It may make you uncomfortable, but by the viewpoints you attributed to yourself, you are technically a bigot. You take a strong categorical dislike to a group of people. You may have loaded that word with other baggage, or maybe your vocabulary isn’t as strong as you think it is. Regardless – you are a bigot. I would own it if I were you, and given how you are laying out your reasoning, I would take the argument that the group of people you are taking a strong categorical dislike to are somehow inherently deserving of that dislike. That’s how other, culturally successful bigots tend to navigate those waters.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/incurable-ennui,70820/ Incurable Ennui

      I highly doubt that prejudicial feelings are innate. That’s like saying somebody was born thinking their own race was superior. You were taught that “predilection” at a young age, and it’s ingrained so far into your belief system that you lack the cognitive torque to even question it. Swap the words “gay” with “black” or “same-sex marriage” with “mixed-race marriage” and you’ll may get some perspective outside yourself. That’s part of the problem. People who are marginalized their whole lives – they don’t have any choice but to have to get inside the collective mindset of prejudice. But the group that’s doing the ostracizing? They don’t bother ever looking at something from outside their own perspective. Have you ever met somebody from somewhere else, trying to tell you what your hometown is like? They are convinced they get it, but the more you hear them talk, the more clear it is they don’t what they are talking about? That’s what talking to bigots is like, and often times the most frustrating part is that the bigot is not aware of the limits of his own perspective.

  • PoliticsWatcher

    Card “is seen as” anti-gay? Yeah, and the Nazis were “seen as” anti-Jew.

  • RevAnissa

    I am a woman married to a woman and, although I don’t identify as a lesbian, this makes me part of the LGBT community. Beyond that, I pastor a church that, perhaps obviously, is fully accepting of LGBT people.

    While I disagree with Orson Scott Card’s position, I cannot deny that the oringinal 4 book Ender’s Game series brought me to my faith in a dominant way. Instead of throwing out all of Orson Scott Card’s works, I choose to stay in conversation with him. I always aim for reconciliation – and that is what Orson Scott Card writes about. Instead of maligning him, I choose to enter into conversation with him. I have read what he writes on LGBT issues, and from his Mormon context it makes sense – not in my theological mindset, but it does in his.

    Again – I choose to stay in communication, rather than fight or ignore. It is only through that the depths of the meaning in his work can be realized.

  • PoliticsWatcher

    Gah! “Bonzo” does not rhyme with “Gonzo”. It’s pronounced “bone-so”, as Card very clearly says.

    Is that the kind of accuracy I can expect from this film adaptation?

  • endersgirl

    I’ve had my heart broken after meeting celebrities in the past… you have to just learn to separate the art from the artist. Just because someone is an asshole doesn’t mean they can’t make great art (and visa versa). I am a supporter of gay rights AND Ender’s Game is one of my favorite books of all time. Its a bummer, but it’s a freaking great book.

  • methos1999

    I think the main problem with trying to separate the art from the artists in this case is that Card is still alive. If you go back centuries and look at writers & artists, I bet you’d find many may have had personal views that are offensive to modern tastes, and may have even been offensive to the culture at the time. But let a few centuries pass, and people easily accept the art on it’s own merit because the personal views of the creator have been obscured by time.

  • Imrahil00

    I’m with methos. First of all, Card’s views are quite liberal for a Mormon writing in the ’90s from his perspective. Second of all, his essay is actually a defence of a moderate viewpoint on the subject (within his community). Third of all, research almost any writer you happen to like from more than twenty years ago and you will find some controversial views. Boycotting the movie because of authorial viewpoints is not only stupid, it’s also pathetic.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/incurable-ennui,70820/ Incurable Ennui

      I was right up with you until the last sentence. You’re cutting Card a lot of slack, but you could cut the public slack if they want to sit it out because of an issue that is important to them.

  • JC

    Take everything you read online with a grain of salt. Out of the statements Card supposedly said, many of the worst were taken way out of context. He is against gay marriage, but his views about gay people are not what many activists want you to believe. Shutting down the conversation is never a good idea. If you have read other works by Card you will find he has created gay characters and written about them with compassion and humanity. A lot of people don’t agree with his views on gay marriage, but I don’t think he his the horrible bigot that he is being portrayed as by some.

  • zeke

    Better late than never . Having just recently seen the movie I hope i am not alone in thinking that so many people over-analyze these things.
    The man seems to be a hypocrite on many levels. For example taking a stand against a class of people for whatever reason, then publishing a message to the
    Masses saying you cannot truly understand anyone without loving them.
    Just an analogy to go with this I love almond chickens but I hate almonds , so I pick them out.
    Having said that … just try and take a step back and see that just because a person is a bigot, homophobe, or narrow-minded in general . It doesn’t mean they can’t say something smart or enlightened once in a while.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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