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After a flurry of casting announcements in the spring, Ender’s Game news became pretty scarce. The dry spell is over, however, thanks to Entertainment Weekly, who scored the first look at stars Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford in director Gavin Hood’s adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel.
Ender Wiggin (played by Butterfield), a prodigy in military tactics, heads to space school to learn how to fight alien invaders dubbed “buggers.” There he not only acquires important alien-fighting skills thanks to Ford’s Col. Graff but also befriends a girl named Petra Arkanian (True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld). Ben Kinglsey, Jimmy “Jax” Pinchak, Aramis Knight, Moises Arias, Suraj Parthasarathy, Khylin Rhambo and Conor Carroll also star.
In addition to showing off the photo, EW talked with Hood about his two stars “The relationship between [Harrison] and Asa was very close,” Hood said, “but he didn’t overly befriend him off the set. He helped Asa by allowing that slight sense of intimidation to be there.”
Hood also addressed a chance from the book to screen. In the novel, the kids — also known as Launchies — get to the school at the age of 6, but in the adaptation they’re pre-teens, a decision that Hood spoke to Card about.
“I discussed this at length with Orson,” Hood said. “The decision was made very early on to compress the time period into about a year, so that we could have the same actor from beginning to end… We were trying to hit that sweet spot right around 12, which Asa fits in very nicely. When you sit down for two hours, you’re just beginning to bond with an actor, and then he changes and suddenly you’re bonding with someone who’s meant to be the same person, but you know he’s a different actor.”
Ender’s Game premieres from Summit Entertainment on Nov. 1, 2013 .