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Comic-Con: “Ender’s Game” and “Divergent”

Summit Entertainment’s much-anticipated movie adaptations of the novel Ender’s Game and Divergent got the Hall H treatment at Comic-Con International in San Diego today, with new footage (in Divergent‘s case, the first footage seen) and panels moderated by Nerdist’s own Chris Hardwick.

Ender’s Game‘s stars, led by Harrison Ford and including Asa Butterfield, and Hailee Steinfeld were on hand for a Q&A, along with producer Roberto Orci and director Gavin Hood. For Divergent, set in a dystopian future Chicago split into five factions (based on virtues) in which one one young woman who does not fit into any of the personality traits is forced to choose a faction, novelist Veronica Roth and director Neil Burger were joined by cast members Shailene Woodley and Theo James.

Kicking things off with Divergent, Burger showed footage shot on Tuesday made for the convention, Roth hinted that her next book (Allegiant, the third in the trilogy) will be written from two of the characters’ perspectives, and Woodley described her character as a “normal girl… I never saw her as a superhero, I never saw her as an action star.” James (Hardwick called him “a dreamy fellow… listening to your accent, half the women in the audience got pregnant”) said that his character “is really old school” and that his being unafraid to admit what scares him “makes him more masculine.” The panel was later joined by cast members Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, Christian Madsen, Amy Newbold, Miles Teller, Mekhi Phifer, and Maggie Q, who talked about moving from playing younger characters to playing an authority figure in Divergent. And Roth said that the movie holds true to the book, which left her “surprised.”

On the Ender’s Gamepanel, Orci and Hood, brought out first, called for Ford, Butterfield, and Steinfeld to join him and Hood on the panel before playing an exclusive clip from the film. Ford said that his character is less Ender’s mentor than manipulator; he said that he took the role because “I was drawn to the complexity of the moral issues” in the book, adding that the premise of the book, written 20 years ago, has become true with the ability to wage war remotely, and the manipulation of young people with special motor skills was a complex issue that interested him. Steinfeld said that her role was physically demanding, with three weeks of training at Space Camp and military-style boot camp. The fan question-and-answer period opened with a question about the controversy surrounding the book’s author, Orson Scott Card, and his position opposing same-sex marriages, with Orci responding that the studio and film have asserted their support of LGBT rights.

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  1. MikeH says:

    I’m sorry, but if Orson Scott Card is profiting in any way from this film, we know that he will continue to fund anti-gay organizations with those profits. There’s no way I’m spending money if even a fraction of it goes into his hands.

    It’s one thing for him to simply state his disagreement with equality for gays and lesbians; it’s another thing for him to use his stature as a platform to lobby for anti-gay laws and treating gays like second-class citizens, which he did for *years*. He was on the board of NOM until earlier this year (suspicious timing, probably done at the request of movie execs) and he has never renounced the backwards, biased, and cruel things he has said about gay people. Not once. He begs for tolerance of his intolerant views, but never showed any tolerance for gay people.

    As much as I enjoyed the book when I was a teen, I will not buy one thing more that has his name on it or that he is associated with. There’s plenty of good SF and fantasy out there that I can spend my money on instead, that doesn’t reward intransigent homophobes who actively worked to kick me in the face time and again.

  2. Martin G says:

    I’m torn about Harrison Ford. Sometimes he seems like he’s in on the joke and understands that, because he portrayed two of the most iconic characters out there, people have a certain amount of love and respect for him…and other times, he seems like he has no patience for people who want to address that aspect of his career. I understand that he is supposedly a private person and that being asked about these things ad nausium for 30 something years can get old, but there will always be a new audience for Han and Indy, always kids who are just joining the club. How great would it be if he was able to embrace that part of his past and appreciate all he’s done for our collective imagination through the years? I don’t know him, maybe I’m off base, and I respect his career and choices…just really get the idea that he doesn’t share in our celebration and respect of what he brought to two of the best known rogues in cinematic history…

  3. BenB says:

    Just a fyi, Enders game was written in 1985.

  4. Ha. Well, I DO know, but I was trying to do three things at once in that room, and I screwed that up. (I know Insurgent’s the second.) But fixed, so start reading again.

  5. Tiffany says:

    I stopped reading when you didn’t know the name of the third book…