We reported last year that Orson Scott Card’s breakthrough sci-fi classic, Ender’s Game, was being turned into a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. And we announced we were boycotting the film because Card is a rabid homophobe who thinks gay people have all been molested and could be straight if we wanted to.
Honestly, we thought we were pissing in the wind—a huge sci-fi film coming out around Thanksgiving with a cast that includes Hugo‘s Asa Butterfield, The Help‘s Viola Davis, Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley? People aren’t gonna care what the author of the original book thinks about gay people, right?
But that was before Card, who’s on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, signed on to write The Adventures of Superman and both he and DC Comics got hit with an cosmic wave of negative publicity. Now even the Hollywood Reporter is wondering if Card’s toxicity will tank the Ender’s Game movie:
Now Summit [Pictures] faces the tricky task of figuring out how to handle Card’s involvement. The first big challenge will be whether to include him in July’s San Diego Comic-Con program. Promoting Ender’s Game without Card would be like trying to promote the first Harry Potter movie without J.K. Rowling. But having Card appear in the main ballroom in front of 6,500 fans could prove a liability if he’s forced to tackle the issue head-on during the Q&A session.
“I don’t think you take him to any fanboy event,” says one studio executive. “This will definitely take away from their creative and their property.” Another executive sums up the general consensus: “Keep him out of the limelight as much as possible.”
Ender’s insiders already are distancing themselves from the 61-year-old author. “Orson’s politics are not reflective of the moviemakers,” says one person involved in the film. “We’re adapting a work, not a person. The work will stand on its own.”
The analogy’s a little off—Rowling was intricately tied to the books and became a household name in her own right. We doubt most people could pick Card out of a lineup. But the press will continue to raise Card’s odious views as the publicity machine for Ender‘s revs up, whether he’s an integral part of the film’s marketing or not.
In the end, Ender’s Game will probably be a hit, or not, regardless of Card’s homophobia. The film’s target demographic is straight teenage boys who, on the whole, aren’t the most concerned with politics (or even literature.)
But we’ll still boycott the film—even if we’re the only ones in the galaxy who do.