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JUL
18
9 MOS

Comic-Con: 'Ender's Game' Producer Promises LGBT Support

UPDATED: Robert Orci tells the Hall H crowd, "The message of the movie and book are message of empathy and compassion. So rather than shy away, we are happy to embrace it."

Ender's Game Panel - H 2013
Denis Poroy/Invision/AP
The 'Ender's Game' panel in San Diego

Lionsgate deftly skirted the brewing Orson Scott Card controversy when producer Roberto Orci said the filmmakers and the company will use the spotlight provided by protests over the author's gay marriage views to support LGBT causes.

The Summit/Lionsgate panel, which included the first substantial footage from the sci-fi movie, featured Orci, director Gavin Hood, stars Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld and Harrison Ford on stage. But moderator Chris Hardwick didn't bring up the author’s anti-gay views during his banter with the filmmakers.

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Cut to the first fan question -- which naturally addressed Orson Scott Card's repeated statements opposing gay marriage, and how they affected the movie.

“The truth is…you never want to court controversy, said Orci. “But we decided to use the attention on us to support Lionsgate’s statement of support of LGBT rights.

He continued: “A lot of people are working on this movie and I would have their efforts thwarted. The message of the movie and book are message of empathy and compassion. So rather than shy away, we are happy to embrace it and use the spotlight to say we support LGBT rights.”

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However, Orci didn’t give details on what form that support would take.

Lionsgate issued a statement calling itself "proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community" and that it does "not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage" [the anti-same-sex marriage organization associated with Card].

"The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form. On the contrary, the film not only transports viewers to an entertaining and action-filled world, but it does so with positive and inspiring characters who ultimately deliver an ennobling and life-affirming message."
 
With that squared away, the panel turned its attention to being what Comic-Con does best: Embarrassing stars.
 
“If Han Solo and Indiana Jones met...“ one fan asked before Hardwick cut him off.
 
“Okay, just stop right there.” Then he paused. “No, I want to know, too, dammit.”
 
Then the fan continued: “What would they say to each other?”
 
Ford rolled his eyes and shook his head. “’Hi, how are you?’” he said gruffly.
 
The crowd laughed and clapped throughout the entire exchange.
 
(No time for love, Dr. Jones?)
 
 
Another fan, this one from Brazil, channeled Roberto Benigni's energy as he said dreamed of Indiana Jones, then asked Ford if Han Solo would be good in the human army in Ender’s Game
 
“You and I have a lot in common,” Ford began. “I used to dream about Indiana Jones a lot. Not so much anymore."
 
But he did respond to the question. “(Han) wouldn’t be good in anyone’s army. He is what we now call an independent contractor."
 
The panel did have its serious points. Ford said he was drawn to moral issues the book was tackling, especially those involving the military. 
 
“Twenty-eight years ago, this book imagined a world that has become the reality: to wage war removed form the battlefield…And the issue of the manipulation of young people for their value as soldiers because of their special skills…their conceptual freedom.. is something that is interesting to me."
 
Steinfeld admitted Ender's Game was the first time she had to physically train for a movie.
 
“We had about three weeks of training. We went to space camp in Alabama. We went thought boot camp, learned how to march, salute. It was physically demanding."
 
Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com
Twitter: @borys_kit