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Harrison Ford Among Older Actors Sought For 'Ender's Game'; Asa Butterfield Locked In

by Kevin Jagernauth
November 29, 2011 11:49 PM
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Harrison Ford Ender's Game

So is Harrison Ford a gift or a curse these days? The actor hasn't had a hit film -- that didn't involve carrying a whip once again -- in over a decade. You'd have to go all the way back to 2000's "What Lies Beneath." Since then it's been a string of underperforming and just plain bad films in almost every genre imaginable, from heartwarming drama ("Extraordinary Measures"), genre thrillers ("Firewall"), comedy ("Morning Glory") and blockbuster tentpoles ("Cowboys & Aliens"). But that said, he is Indiana Jones and Han Solo, so that will always carry a certain amount of weight.

And thus, it can't be any surprise that Variety is reporting that Ford is among the veteran actors being sought out for a role in Gavin Hood's "Ender's Game." Apparently Viggo Mortensen was among those being talked to, but the picky actor eventually moved on. Powerhouse producing duo of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are behind the project, telling novelist Orson Scott Card's classic tale that's set in the future, when Earth is at war with an insectoid race named the Formics, and follows Ender, one of a group of children being trained to be military commanders. "Hugo" star Asa Butterfield, previously reported to take the lead, is now officially locked with Ford (or whichever older actor) to play Colonel Hyrum Graff, the Commander of Training for the International Fleet.

The big question mark for Ford, or whoever else takes the part, is whether or not they'll want to be tied to a franchise. "Ender's Game" is just one part of a sprawling twelve novel saga that is still growing. You can bet everyone who signs on is getting snagged with a contract that features an option for future movies. Will Ford want to take another gamble with a high profile project that will once again force him to do the kind of press he hates? Or will he opt for something else? We'll soon find out. This one is now in full gear with a March 15, 2013 release date as a target.

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More: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ender's Game

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  • Lena | October 23, 2013 8:50 PMReply

    This no where resembles the book. Innocence has been replaced by hollywoods aspiration to cash in on teen markets. Can you say Twilight? Card has a terrible rep and this director obviously didn't have the b###~>\^{? To make the movie as it was suppose to be. Asa butterfield just looks gangly and awkward. I'm predicting major flop here.

  • StephenM | November 30, 2011 6:34 PMReply

    Man, I love the book, but I feel like they're going to ruin this movie. The kid may be good but he's too old. Harrison Ford is pretty much a full-time crank now. The director sucks. I have little confidence in the writers. The movie's gonna be bad. And they definitely shouldn't try for the sequels, that just wouldn't work for a movie.

  • scribe | November 30, 2011 3:49 PMReply

    Fuck Ford. The actor, not the car maker. Well maybe the car maker too. He's old and craggy and so fucking obnoxious now. He only "shows up" on film to make $$$$ for his grand children. Harrison Ford- NOT A WORKING ACTOR.

  • James | November 30, 2011 9:04 AMReply

    A 'certain' amount of weight?

  • padre | November 30, 2011 4:15 AMReply

    Too old. All of them. Including my much loved Harrison Ford, much as that pains me. The man is 70 years old. The average life expectancy of men is 75 years. You do the math. But Ford is far from alone. Al Pacino, DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Chevy Chase, all are over or nearing 70. They are just the tip of the iceberg. Danny DeVito, Steve Martin, and Harry Shearer. This is a list that goes on and on. We have an entire generation of stars that will soon no longer be with us. Either they'll retire from public life to knock out their bucket list...or they'll just die first. The big action superstars are right on their heels at age 65: Stallone and Schwarzenegger. The babies of that group are the mid to late 50's Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis. And almost 50 themselves are Johnny Depp and his peers of alternative rebel superstars. And after that you get real slim pickings. Scattered points of light in a Dead Zone where Hollywood just stopped cultivating or grooming stars. Finally realizing how stupid that was, they have belatedly started up again with the Harry Potter/Twilight/Disney Channel babies. But they are all ten or more years away from their prime superstar years. There is an entire LOST GENERATION of stars that never came to be. That lost generation should be just now blooming into the superstars of the next 20 years. But they can't, because they were never cultivated in the first place. Who has Hollywood got lined up to be the next Pacino, DeNiro, Douglas, or HARRISON DAMN FORD? Who are they lining up to replace Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts or Tom Hanks? More importantly to me: Who are they lining up to replace Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Eddie Murphy, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Bill Murray, Val Kilmer, Kevin Costner, Nic Cage, Sean Connery, Warren Beatty, Bruce Willis, and even Charlton Heston hasn't been replaced yet. All superstars of action and thrillers who I love, but all INCREDIBLY OLD. If the news announced tomorrow that they had died of heart attacks from walking up a flight of stairs, you wouldn't bat an eyelash in surprise. Because that's what old people do. They die. And then somebody has to be doing the job they used to do. But Hollywood hasn't trained or groomed anybody to do that job. So there is a vast sucking hole where a generation of new superstars should be. And it PISSES ME OFF. WHERE IS MY NEW GENERATION OF ACTION STARS, HOLLYWOOD??? And don't give me that 44 year old Vin Diesel or Jason Statham bullshit or the MAJOR BULLSHIT of 19 year old Taylor Lautner. Where are my action stars young enough to engage in a foot chase without a heart attack and old enough to have grit in their face??? Yeah, Vin and the Rock still have many good years of action movies left in them. But they ain't getting younger and there is NOBODY to replace them thanks to poor Hollywood planning. Their replacements should already be breaking in right now. Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis' replacement should have been breaking in 5 years ago! Just like Vin was starting out as Arnold was on the down slope and Pitt was breaking out just as Redford was winding down. Through osmosis or good planning by Hollywood, they always had the new ship ready by the time the old ship sunk, so that audiences could make the leap. Then they stopped. And now we are all left on sinking boats.

  • Gene in L.A. | May 1, 2012 12:24 PM

    Hollywood hasn't been in the business of "grooming" stars for a half century. There's no studio system in place to give out multi-film or -year contracts so a star can grow up learning his craft. Either you make the package deals or you work in indie cinema like Depp did for his formative years. It does no good to bemoan "Hollywood's" lack of planning, because there is no more monolithic Hollywood at all. Yes, there's a dearth of up-and-comers, but that's not due to any lack of planning. There's just no one there to do the planning.

  • evilnik | November 30, 2011 3:24 PM

    padre, i love you. you are bang fcking on.

  • padre | November 30, 2011 4:21 AM

    Yes, that's a big wall of text, but I have rage issues Okay? And Playlist doesn't allow paragraph breaks anymore.

    Much like New Coke, New Playlist kind of stinks.

  • Simon | November 30, 2011 1:40 AMReply

    It should be noted that every novel except for the splendid first one is complete and utter shit, and several of them basically just propaganda. There's just no way they'd follow Ender's Game up with adapting Speaker for the Dead.

  • StephenM | November 30, 2011 6:41 PM

    Hey, Ender's Shadow is excellent. The ones after that decline sharply and wouldn't make good movies, but I think Shadow of the Giant wrapped things up rather well. (Though apparently there's more books planned--something I can't see working or adding anything of value to the series.) And Speaker for the Dead is amazing. The sequels to that less so, but still highly intelligent hard sci-fi, if not as gripping as novels. They wouldn't make good movies, though--at least not in any sort of blockbustery-franchise way, only if someone really smart wanted to take it on and make it his own in a Blade Runner-sort-of-way.

    Now that I'm thinking about it, someone might try adapting Card's Pastwatch. That has possibilities...

  • Cinephile | November 30, 2011 8:53 AM

    Aw, come on, fair's fair: Shadow is brilliant as well -- though that's more of a parallel than any sort of direct sequel. Besides which I guess they wouldn't be able to do anything with it, given its narrative structure. But aside from Game/Shadow, yeah, then the series goes to shit. (The Shadowverse novels just need to stop. Forever. Period.) The Speaker trilogy is still okay, I feel like I can say it's not my cup of tea but I can understand if people out there connect with it, but between the pequeninos and aiuas and the fact that Battle School is no longer the setting, and... I can't see how it will manage to capitalize on the audience for a movie that Game might be, in order to become a viable film franchise.

  • Dan | November 30, 2011 12:20 AMReply

    If they are trying to get him to play Colonel Graff it could potentially be the best role he's played in years.

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