Comic-Con: “Ender’s Game” and “Divergent”
By Perry Michael Simon on July 18, 2013
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.