Ender’s Game is a big budget adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s novel, directed by Gavin Hood. The film stars Harrison Ford, Sir Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld and Asa Butterfield as the title character. I had the chance to talk to Harrison Ford and Sir Ben Kingsley about creating a film based on the popular novel.
These things are often loose and relaxed, but you have to prepare yourself when meeting Harrison Ford. He’s an iconic figure on screen, but he has a reputation for coming across as a tough man to interview. It must be made clear that Ford has an incredibly dry personality that could easily be mistaken for apathy. He conducts himself as a regular guy, a business man whose business just happens to be show business.
Towards the end of my questions I asked him if he was worried about upsetting fans of the Ender’s Game novel with his portrayal of Colonel Graff, he looked me right in the eye, waited a beat, simply said ‘no’ and walked away, with the faintest hint of a smirk. It was pure Harrison Ford and it was priceless.
Meanwhile, Sir Ben Kingsley is obviously a man who loves his craft. He becomes quite fascinating when he goes into the process of creating a character and what he looks for in a role.
You’re an incredibly in demand actor – what made you choose your role in Ender’s Game?
Sir Ben Kingsley: The very unusual silhouette I was asked to fill. That extraordinary evolved warrior who, and I don’t want to diminish it, he’s just a warrior. That’s what he does and that is the force that is brought to bear on Asa’s character. Our level of teachers, tutors, generals, military men and women are there to shape them and mould them into what we want.
What do you think makes the film special?
Sir Ben Kingsley: I think one of the many glorious aspects of the film is the question of, are we or are we not going to change that boy’s soul forever? And we see at the end of the film whether we have or not. And I think the film goes ssssshhhhhhhh (he makes a whooshing sound) up at the end, which is great.
You’re always very involved in the script development of a film – how do you tackle a script that’s based on a book?
Harrison Ford: With collaboration, with other people involved trying to achieve an understanding of the objectives – and whether or not the objective is met. And you know, with the occasional suggestion about how one might be more clear in the objectives of every scene. But it’s a collaborative enterprise and it always will be. I hope.
Is it a process you enjoy?
Harrison Ford: I very much enjoy the process of problem solving, which comes along when things don’t…when the gears don’t mesh. When ideas don’t come across and when it doesn’t have the right rhythm. All that is the process of filmmaking.
Do you ever worry about upsetting the fans of the book with the tweaks that you make to your character?
Harrison Ford: No.
That’s a great answer.
Harrison Ford: Thank you.
Ender’s Game opens in the UK on 25 October and in the US on 1st November