Roberto Orci has written and produced several huge blockbuster films, including but not limited to, Star Trek Into Darkness, Cowboys & Aliens, Star Trek and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Gigi Pritzker is one of the co-founders of Odd Lot Entertainment, a company who have been behind acclaimed films like Rabbit Hole and Drive.
Together, Orci and Pritzker are big fans of Orson Scott Card’s Hugo and Nebula award winning book Ender’s Game and have spent years trying to make a movie out of it. Now, on November 1st, the film will finally debut on the silver screen.
Recently, I had the chance to sit down with the two for an exclusive interview at the Ender’s Game press day in Los Angeles. Over the course of our discussion they talked about what they had to leave out from the novel, what it was like filming the zero gravity sequences, how they first discovered the book and more.
Check it out below and enjoy!
How did you two first discover the book?
Gigi Pritzker: My nephew gave the book to me. He was in eighth grade so he was 13 or 14-years old, and he gave me the book and said, “You should read this book, it’s really good.” As a young boy he had a hard time reading, so the fact that he read this book was kind of amazing to me, so I thought great, I’ll check it out. I read it and I was blown away. We had terrific conversations about the stuff in Ender’s Game, and those conversations were really rich and that struck me as something unique. And he said, “Wouldn’t it make a great movie?” That started me on this journey that has taken a very long time. That kid now has a kid of his own and he is studying to get his PhD, so a lot of time has elapsed (laughs).
Roberto Orci: I read it at the same age as Gigi’s nephew, and I just thought wow, what an amazing book. It doesn’t talk down to me and it celebrates intelligence and it’s complicated. I never imagined that I would be working on it later. It was just the farthest thing from my mind. It’s incredible to be a part of it though and realize a childhood dream.
There are a lot of dystopian movies and books out there. What do you think makes Ender’s Game stand out above all the others?
Robert Orci: Well I don’t think it’s dystopian…
Gigi Pritzker: That’s exactly right. I think, and Gavin (Hood, the director) always said this, that the whole point is that this is an earth worth saving. We have all banded together because we want to save this earth, so I think it’s a hopeful environment and a hopeful future that everyone’s fighting for.
Roberto Orci: And when you see the movie, it’s like a green earth and we’ve overcome fossil fuels. That’s why Ender is going, because he wants to save his sister, his brother and his parents, and he lives on a nice suburban street and it’s a beautiful spot. I don’t tend to love dystopian futures. I’m not a big fan of that, so I don’t agree that it’s dystopian. However, there are definitely challenges to be faced in the future and that’s what the movie’s about. But I think it’s a good question because people think of the movie and the book as that and that everything in the future has to be this downer and that’s not the case. That’s not why we were attracted to this. We liked it because hey, if you’re going to go into space and be a leader, it better be for a good reason and not because you’re protecting some terrible place.
That house is really nice with all the cool TV screens inside. We also see that there is still sibling rivalry in the future too.
Robert Orci: That never goes away. That is always dystopian (laughs).
Was there anything from the book that you wanted to put into the movie that you were not able to?
Roberto Orci: There was only one thing, the blogging from Ender’s sister and brother. The decision was made because we really have to follow Ender. Back when the book was written, the idea of blogging was infinitely more unique and forward thinking, my goodness. This was in 1984 and he has got bloggers on the Internet taking over the place. Nowadays we’ve all done that so it seemed like a less relevant element of the movie. So that was the only thing that I think we took out, but I think it’s for the good of the movie.
Gigi Pritzker: I think you also had to condense the number of teams, which meant you lost some characters, and that’s the nature of doing an adaptation. A book and a film are fundamentally different.
I have not read the book yet, but watching this movie made me want to read it.
Gigi Pritzker: But that’s really great because, for me, what you hope for in this movie is that people who haven’t read the book love the movie and then want to read the book. The same is true for the reverse as well. We hope that people who’ve read the book love the movie and that they are not disappointed and it’s a journey that’s as good as the book was. The mix of all that stuff is really important.
People often say that you need to read the book before you see the movie, but these days it seems like it’s the other way around.
Roberto Orci: I agree, and if you haven’t read it already, just watch the movie.
Gigi Pritzker: But it’s great that it inspires you to want to read the book because sometimes you see the movie and you’re like, “Okay, been there, done that, I’m good.” But you should read the book, it’s great.