Things are definitely looking up for the cinematic adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi novel Ender’s Game, which sat for years on the shelf marked “Tough To Film” but has now been plucked down by Summit Entertainment, OddLot Entertainment and writer/director Gavin Hood. The casting process is already in full swing, with Hugo’s Asa Butterfield in place as the titular lead and now True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld in negotiations to join him.
Provided she locks in a deal, Steinfeld will play Petra Arkanian, one of the few female fighters recruited by Earth’s forces to train to fight an apparently deadly insect-like race. In the competitive atmosphere of the Battle School, where the kids are divided into groups and set against one another to test them (to destruction, essentially), Petra's in the Salamander Army, but befriends Ender and helps him through his early days in the School even after he joins one of the opposing teams.
Hood, along with producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, are also on the hunt for an older actor to play the no-nonsense Colonel Hyrum Gruff, the man who trains the boys in an elite academy. Viggo Mortensen was offered the role but passed, and now several others are being considered, including Harrison Ford.
Steinfeld’s star has been on a fast ascent since Grit, and she’s nabbed several roles, including two very different takes on Romeo & Juliet. The first is Carlo Carlie’s indie version, which kicks off shooting next month in Italy; the other, called Rosaline, focuses on Romeo's jilted lover who in this tale witnesses her ex and his current form a suicide pact.
There’s no date for Ender’s Game to start production just yet, but it already has an assigned release slot set for March 29, 2013.