And now, a brief lesson on the faulty system that is the Hollywood studio. Movies take a long time to make. That should be fairly obvious. Each step along the way (writing, preproduction, principle photography, post production, etc.) takes months and even that can be stretched to years. James Cameron didn’t work for nearly 14 years while he simply developed the camera to film Avatar (some wish he would have spent part of those years working on the script).
Anyway, making a film is a grueling and tiring process. And that’s just for the movies that get made! Hundreds of films a year get started, putter around and then die before the audience gets word of it. Those that don’t go quietly end up in two places dreaded by Hollywood insider: one is turnaround, where all of the assets purchased or created for the production get liquidated and disposed of or sold off to another company. The other is development hell, where teams of writers are hired to draft and re-draft the script and marketing executives contemplate strategies for months on end.
Side note about developmental hell: it’s not that bad. A lot of writers get all their pay checks from projects that never see the light of day. I had a screenwriter tell me once that a writer can make a damn good living in LA and never see a single word of his/her published.
Which brings us to Ender’s Game, a classic science-fiction novel by Orson Scott Card published in 1985. This was one of the few books I actually liked that was assigned to me in high school (yeah, I had one of those kooky English teachers) and have re-read it since. Talk of a film adaptation has been around since at least 1997. That’s 13 years. Just talking about the movie. And people have been getting paid for this.
Back to the story. A few years ago Card said he wanted to write the script, which he did. Now news is coming in that director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Tstoti) has rewritten Card’s script (I’m assuming he thinks he knows the work better than the author himself? Or Card might not know how to make the transition from book to film) and attached himself to direct. Will this finally get the movie into production? Who knows. Wolfgang Petersen was long attached to bring the film to cinematic reality, but that never happened, like so many other things in LA. We’ll keep you updated, but in the meantime, go read the book.