Producer Roberto Orci has had his hand in many of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster projects in recent years. From “Transformers” to “Star Trek” to “Fringe,” he’s dedicated to bringing quality genre entertainment to the fans. The latest project he’s standing behind is the long-anticipated adaptation of “Ender’s Game,” which stars Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford.
Author Orson Scott Card frequently said “Ender’s Game” was unfilmable, but Orci approached that challenge by not altering the story as it was told on the page. That meant not changing “Ender’s Game’s” somewhat surprising ending in its big screen form.
“I heard various pitches of the movie over the years that totally changed the ending and made it like ‘Star Wars’ in a sense, like totally like ‘and then they go and they blow up the Death Star,’ essentially. Completely changed what the intent of the book was,” Orci tells Zap2it. “We just thought audiences have seen everything nowadays. They’ve seen all the big spectacle, now they can handle this movie now, and it’s still spectacle but it’s still a young protagonist in an adult situation dealing with war and peace and tolerance and all kinds of other things.”
Some fans were upset that the “Ender’s Game” trailer revealed a major moment from the end of the film. Orci has a simple response: “It’s only a spoiler if you know already what happens.”
“If you don’t know what the movie is, you have no idea what that means,” he says. “I like that [the fans are] trying to protect other people and experience the surprise that they felt, but it’s only the fans who know what they’re seeing there.”
“Ender’s Game” is the most famous installment of the Ender series, but it’s not the only one. Orci says there is a chance that the “Ender’s Game” sequels and Bean spinoff novels could be brought to the big screen.
“We have the rule that you jinx yourself if you talk about sequels before they hatch. We’re not even done making this movie,” he says. “But there’s a rich body of work that he’s got there, the character’s fascinating, there’s ‘Ender’s Shadow’ which is a parallel story and so, if we’re lucky enough that there is further appetite for this, certainly I’d like to put my name in the ring.”
Some protests are being formed against author Card, who frequently has vocalized his anti-gay stance. Lionsgate already released a statement calling Card’s views “irrelevant,” but Orci phrases their take on Card’s opinions and the protests in a better manner.
“At first all we felt was kind of concern for anyone who might be hurt by something that we’re associated with, but then we decided to sort of make lemonade out of it and say actually now we get to go talk about a popcorn movie and actually say that we support the LGBT community, and that wouldn’t even come up unless it was brought up in this context,” Orci says. “Rather than shy away from it, we’re happy to be here with this movie and support the views that we hold and disagree with the views that we don’t.”
This isn’t the only movie Orci has on his plate. He also is attached to “Star Trek 3,” which isn’t officially announced but is expected to be made. It’s up in the air whether director J.J. Abrams will direct considering his involvement in “Star Wars: Episode VII.” Zachary Quinto reportedly confirmed Abrams would be back and said that the film would start shooting in 2014, but Orci says that was the first he’d heard of that news.
“I’d love to have J.J. back. We’re still talking to Paramount about what the scheduling might be and if we can all do it together again, but yeah I read that too and I was like, ‘Whoa, does [Quinto] know something I don’t? I’d better call him.’ He owes me a call,” Orci says with a laugh.
As for his planned “The Mummy” reboot, Orci says, “We just got a great script by Jon Spaihts, and we’re hoping to be shooting that in the new year. Our idea is to try and differentiate it from what’s come before because we love those movies and don’t want to just remake them, so how do you update it? So I think the idea is, yeah, do it now [in the present day.”
“Ender’s Game” hits theaters on Nov. 1, 2013.