New ENDER'S GAME Set Photos; Producer Talks Costume & Set Design
Published: June 29, 2012 - 8:07am
ENDER'S GAME, based on the best-selling, award-winning novel by Orson Scott Card, is an epic adventure about a brilliant young strategist named Ender Wiggin who is drafted by the International Fleet to save the human race. Directed by Gavin Hood, the film also stars Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld.
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
The official Ender's Game Production Blog, run by producer Roberto Orci, has offered a few new updates about the highly anticipated film:
As we’ve now reached the end of principal photography on ENDER’S GAME, it seems fitting to take a step back and acknowledge the two people responsible for giving such vivid life to the imaginary world in which we’ve spent the past many months immersed. And when we say immersed, we truly mean it.
Ben Procter and Sean Haworth — our amazing Production Designer duo — were tasked with bringing a difficult piece of Science Fiction to life… and they were more than up to the challenge. Together, they created a unique blend of technology and humanity that made the ENDER’S GAME sets eventually seem like home.
As a duo, they played to their strengths, mixing a strong Illustration and Visual Effects Art Direction background (Ben), with the application of a physical set build and Art Directing (Sean). It turned into a symbiotic “divide and conquer”, and the results speak volumes.
We recently got them to reflect on the process of creating this world. As Ben described it, the most fun was creating the two contrasting cultures of Human and Formic technology and architecture.
“We tried to imbue the spaces and vehicles with a gritty, engineered realism that would help sell the seriousness of the training our hero kids are going through. The visual style of the Formics, on the other hand, needed to be both exotic and beautiful to represent a society not deserving of extinction.”
Ask them to describe the Formic world and you’ll get excited tales, imagining a Formic method of manufacture that was distinctly inhuman — a kind of biological 3D printer, with the drones building living spaces and spacecraft layer by layer. Even in a short conversation, their excitement for the project is tangible. And it certainly helps that they were already fans of the novel.
For Ben, he read the founding short-story at age twelve, and has been a fan ever since. “Fans of the book will hopefully recognize what they’ve been imagining for years, but also be impressed with the level of detail. And as a fan, you have an actual emotional reaction finally seeing the Zero-G action you’ve always visualized.”
As for Sean, having read the book in his twenties, vividly remembers not only the science and technology, but the terrifying human elements behind it all.
“ I was torn between wanting to be Ender but never having to be faced with that kind of a future,” he said.
But the most amazing thing about talking to them, without question, is their eagerness to share the credit and sing the praises of the whole crew that brought ENDER’S GAME to life. Whether it be admiration for the beauty of Gavin’s adaptation, the “coolest art department ever assembled”, the ingenuity of construction coordinator Anthony Syracuse and Supervising Art Director Todd Holland, or even the fact that Orson Scott Card himself came to give their design and vision his seal of approval, this was a great crew in every sense.
…Oh, and filming on stages inside a rocket assembly facility — seeing real rocket parts that were destined for space flight — that certainly didn’t hurt ingenuity.
You think your job is tough? Try having to dress an entire imaginary, future-world. That responsibility fell to Christine Bieselin-Clark, our wonderful costume designer. She was tasked with making the future look — and even feel — real and tangible.
With science fiction, there’s a danger in creating a look that seems so foreign it becomes alienating. For ENDER’S GAME, we wanted to make a future that looked both functional and logical. We wanted it to be a future where you can picture yourself in their shoes. But of course, it is the future. For the uniforms, all synthetic materials were used, meaning no loud silk florals. And for the flash suits… well, we actually had to create them out of thin air.
Christine built the flash suits from virtually non-existent fabrics designed by our incredible production team. The idea was to take cues from “extreme sports” to inspire our design, using real world practicality as opposed to the heightened reality of superhero spandex and a cape.
And the best part? They look pretty darn cool. And then there’s having to make a uniform for Nonso Anozie, who plays Sergeant Dap. Normally, a bolt comes with nine yards of material, and can make 2-3 suits. Or, in Nonso’s case, one suit became a living example of the expression “the whole nine yards”.
But hey, it’s the future… so maybe we’ve switched to metric.
Ender's Game is based on Orson Scott Card's Hugo Award winning, science fiction young adult novel and will be released in theaters on November 1st, 2013. Summit Entertainment is co-financing the film which Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolderine) will direct and screenwriting/producing duo Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Cowboys and Aliens) are attached as producers through their K/O Paper Products banner, along with Odd Lot Entertainment's Gigi Pritzker and Linda McDonough, author Orson Scott Card and Lynn Hendee.
Asa Butterfield, the star of director Martin Scorsese's widely praised 3D film Hugo will be playing the lead role of Ender Wiggin. Harrison Ford (Cowboys & Aliens) will be Colonel Hyrum Graff, the adult lead in the film and commander of training for the International Fleet military academy in located in space. Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) will play Petra Arkanian, one of Ender's Battle School trainers and eventual confidant. Sir Ben Kingsley, who recently starred with Butterfield in Hugo will play a character who is crucial to Ender's battle training, former Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham. Canadian actor Brendan Meyer will play one of Ender's early antagonists Stilson who he encounters before being shipped off to Battle School. Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin will play Valentine Wiggin, sister to Butterfield's Ender. Aramis Knight (Rendition) will play Ender's youngest recruit Bean, Moises Arias will play Salamander Army Commander Bonzo Madrid, Jimmy "Jax" Pinchak (Let Me In) will be Peter Wiggin, Suraj Parthasarathy will be Alai, Conor Carroll will be Ender's first Battle School nemesis Bernard and Khylin Rhambo has signed on to play Dink Meeker. Viola Davis (the Help) will play a yet to be named military psychologist who oversees the emotional welfare of young trainees. Nonso Anozie (The Grey) will play Sergeant Dap, Stevie Ray Dallimore (Joyful Noise) has been cast as Ender’s father John and Andrea Powell (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2) will play Ender’s mother Theresa.