October 26, 2016
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Sir Ben Kingsley joining “Ender’s Game”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Gavin Hood’s “Ender’s Game” is becoming a “Hugo” reunion.

The adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s admired science-fiction novel has cast Sir Ben Kingsley opposite his “Hugo” co-star Asa Butterfield, according to THR.

The novel’s official synopsis is below:

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.

Butterfield, the lead in Scorsese’s 3D epic, would play Ender. Speculation has Kingsley playing a long-lost war hero may thought had died. “True Grit” star Hailee Steinfeld is in the hunt to play Petra Arkanian, while Hood wants Harrison Ford to play Colonel Hyrum Graff, according to reports.

Have you read our exclusive interview with Kingsley yet? Click here to read his take on “Hugo,” film preservation and working with Martin Scorsese.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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