It probably wasn’t a coincidence that Geeks Out decided to announce their planned boycott of Ender’s Game just a couple of weeks before Comic-Con, as they knew the actors and filmmakers would be gathering in San Diego to try and push the sci-fi film.
Talk of a boycott has certainly managed to shift the focus from the film itself to the controversy surrounding the book’s author. It’s resulted in most of those involved in the film making statements at Comic-Con distancing themselves from the homophobic sentiments of the author Orson Scott Card.
Talking to The Huffington Post, director Gavin Hood said, “We can’t control – like, we have no right to tell him [Card[ what he should or shouldn’t say. I don’t know, Bob and I – we hold the opposite view. I do not agree with Orson Scott Card’s position on gay marriage. But, I love Ender’s Game the book. And that’s something that one has to reconcile in one’s own head. That’s really our position.”
Producer Bob Orci added, “At first, as you’re saying, we were, ‘Yes, this is a difficulty.’ We’ve come to embrace the fact that this actually gets to be a conversation. And we actually get to sit here and say that we support human rights and we support what’s going on in this country right now and that it’s trending in the right direction. And without this conversation, we wouldn’t be able to say that. We wouldn’t be talking about that. And the book is about tolerance and understanding differences and bullying. And, so, it’s actually turned out to be oddly relevant to the book and it turns out that the book itself is the biggest advocate of the position.”
“And that’s the beautiful thing,” Hood continued. “Frequently artists create something that is better and more insightful than their own particular point of view on some issue. We have a great piece of art and we have the artist behind that art saying things that seem to be extremely bigoted. But they’re not the book. The book is the book and Orson’s views are his views.”
Orci echoed those sentiments when he got on stage for the film’s actual Comic-Con panel, saying, “The best message of the book is tolerance, compassion, empathy. Rather than shying away from the controversy, we’re happy to embrace it and say we support LGBT rights.” He was given a strong round of applause by the 6,000 people in the room.
Orci and Hood are not the only ones being asked for their views, as 16-year-old Asa Butterfield, who plays the Titular Ender in the movie, said “I agree with rights for everybody… You can’t blame a work for its author.”
Co-star Harrison Ford has also weighed in saying, “No part of the story concerns Mr Card’s theories about society in terms of gay issues or homosexual issues. I think he has a right to his opinions and has also made it clear that it was a battle that he fought and lost and would like to get on with the rest of life.”
As you might have realised, Card was not invited to be part of the panel, and with Ender’s Game studio Lionsgate recently laying out their LGBT-friendly credentials and distancing themselves from Card, it’s safe to say he won’t be part of the publicity for the film at all.
Geeks Out maintains they’re keeping with their boycott plans, as no matter how gay-friendly everyone else involved in the film is, it will make money for Card, which he could then put towards anti-gay causes, such as the extremely homophobic National Organisation For Marriage, which had Card as a board member.
Ultimately though, will the planned boycott effect the film, or is it actually just giving it more publicity and the oxygen of controversy in a crowded marketplace for young adult movies?