'Ender's Game' Starring Asa Butterfield Faces Gay Boycott

Image: 'Ender's Game' Starring Asa Butterfield Faces Gay Boycott Actors Asa Butterfield, left, and Harrison Ford of "Ender's Game."

Friday, 01 Nov 2013 11:12 AM

By Michael Mullins

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"Ender's Game," the sci-fi film centered-around an alien invasion in which the human race turns to its children as its last defense, was released Friday nation-wide following a Hollywood premiere on Monday. The movie faces a boycott by gay activists.

The movie stars Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, and Asa Butterfield – of Martin Scorsese’s "Hugo" fame – who is the film's protagonist named Ender Wiggins.

A brilliant teenager, Ender is selected by the government to undergo extensive military training that involves logic, combat and survival testing, eventually leading to him being selected to lead a child army against the invading alien force.

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The movie is based on a 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card, whose prior anti-gay comments have led some progressive activists to propose a boycott of the film, including MoveOn.org which launched a petition titled, "Skip Ender's Game: Don't Give The Bigot A Buck." As of Friday morning at 10:30 a.m., the petition had received just under 11,500 signatures.

The film's creators have distanced themselves from Card, with "Ender's Game" director Gavin Hood telling the The Advocate that its "it’s dreadfully ironic," considering "Orson wrote a book about compassion, and empathy, and yet he himself is struggling to see that his position in real life is really at odds with his art."

On Monday during the red carpet "Ender's Game" premiere Entertainment Weekly reported that Hood added, "The book is a fantastic book full of wonderful themes like compassion and tolerance and I am distressed by Orson’s position on gay marriage. I hold the opposite view. But I loved the book."

As a preemptive measure, Lionsgate Entertainment, which produced the film, released a statement in July that read in part: "As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community. . . We obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage. However, they are completely irrelevant to a discussion of 'Ender’s Game,'" Entertainment Weekly reported.

The Wrap's Josh Dickey exclusively reported on Wednesday that "Ender's Game's" profits in the box office will not be reaped by Card, considering the anti-gay novelist had already received his payment for the film adaptation through a "decade-old deal."

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Despite the film's controversy surrounding the story's origins, there is a positive underlying anti-bullying theme throughout the film, as we see Butterfield's character repeatedly outsmart bullies who target him because of his intelligence and small stature.

Ender eventually overcomes the obstacles before him to become mankind's last hope.

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