360° Coverage : Why Gavin Hood Calls Ender's Game 'The Biggest Indie...

2 Updates

Why Gavin Hood Calls Ender's Game 'The Biggest Indie Movie Ever Made'

Feb 19 2014, 12:29pm CST | by

As a best-selling winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards, not to mention written by an author who is virtually a household name among sci-fi fans, Ender’s Game feels like a no-brainer candidate for...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

30 weeks ago

Why Gavin Hood Calls Ender's Game 'The Biggest Indie Movie Ever Made'

Feb 19 2014, 12:29pm CST | by

As a best-selling winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards, not to mention written by an author who is virtually a household name among sci-fi fans, Ender’s Game feels like a no-brainer candidate for adaptation. And particularly given Hollywood’s current obsession with uncovering the next blockbuster Young Adult franchise, it seems like investors would be lining up in droves to bankroll the first installment in what could become a series of as many as 16 films.

But according to writer-director Gavin Hood, he struggled to secure financing for the project. More specifically, Hood and a small group of collaborators had to scrounge together enough money to create a “proof of concept” reel to sell the film to investors before they could go into production, much less sell the finished product to audiences.

“The team is small, and you’re starting out with the script and how you’re going to visualize it,” Hood explained at the recent press day for the Ender’s Game Blu-ray, which was released Feb. 11. “At this stage the movie is not financed. There’s this little team, and we don’t have much money.”

“This is an indie movie,” he said. “Probably the biggest indie movie ever made.”

After determining that the film’s zero-gravity battle theater would be the centerpiece of their presentation, Hood worked with visual effects supervisor Matthew Butler to create a $25,000 “sizzle reel” where Ender gears up for a combat session. “We’ve got this little, little bit of money, and we’ve got to show how the battle room is going to work,” he remembered. “It has to be amazing. We have to make a 45-second teaser to take to Cannes to show to foreign buyers and get them excited so they’ll prebuy the movie.

“So we were working at that stage towards a little 45-second teaser that we hoped would make people go wow, zero gravity in space can work.”

The only hitch with producing that teaser? Nobody was officially signed on to the movie yet – not even Hood. “I was not on payroll then,” he admitted. “Sir Ben [Kingsley] was working at a very reduced rate. Everybody was trying to do what they needed to do… we pulled a lot of favors.”

Even with Card’s words – and the acclaim they received in the decades since first being published — providing a vivid foundation for the filmmakers to work from, Hood said that he knew he needed something tangible to show potential investors so they had a sense of what the final product would look like. “Illustrations, like of the kids in the battle room, are really important when you’re trying to sell what you’re trying to do to your producers,” he said.

“If they’re like, ‘Well, what does thing look like?’ you can’t snap your fingers and have it. You’ve got to go through this process, and then you show them – this is where we’re going.”

Given the limits of their budget, not to mention the absence of a cast, Hood and his collaborators knew they wouldn’t be able to create footage that was as photorealistic as the images would appear in the final film. But at the same time, they had to produce something distinctive and at least close to what they hoped to achieve, if for no other reason than to quell the skepticism of money men and –women who might worry that what they were watching in the presentation would be identical, flaws and all, to what ended up in the movie.

“What’s tricky when you’re selling, because that’s what you’re doing, is if you show something too rough, people who are not familiar with this or don’t know it freak out, they go, ‘Oh – is that what it’s going to look like? It’s horrible’,” Hood said. “And so you’ve got to choose your moments very carefully, and you want to do one or two great pieces of concept art – here’s a beautiful image of those kids — so they go, ‘oh, that’s what we’re doing’.”

Eventually, Hood and co. were able to secure more than $110 million in financing, which brought those investors some $112 million in receipts, suggesting that the adaptation wasn’t quite the box office slam dunk that it seemed like it might be. Notwithstanding its prospects on home video, it remains to be determined whether Orson Scott Card’s personal politics affected audience interest, or moviegoers simply didn’t warm to the movie in a way the filmmakers might have hoped. But Ender’s Game highlights a Hollywood lesson as valuable as any intellectual property: in order to get your voice heard, you will ultimately have to put your money where your mouth is.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

3 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new c ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

3 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of th ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Israel approves rebuilding plan for communities near Gaza
Jerusalem, Sep 21 (IANS) The Israeli cabinet Sunday approved a $360 million development initiative for the communities in the country's south, near the Gaza border, who were hit hard in the recent bloody conflict between Israel and the Hamas.
 
 
High-level Indian ministerial visits to London next month
London, Sep 21 (IANS/RAY) India's Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to visit London Oct 13-14 for an interface with financial institutions to persuade them to invest in India.
 
 
Expressway to link Vietnam and China opens
Hanoi, Sep 21 (IANS) Vietnam's longest expressway connecting Noi Bai in capital Hanoi and the north-western Lao Cai province, bordering China, with a total length of 245 km, officially opened to traffic Sunday.
 
 
G20 deal on sharing bank data to help India battle black money
Cairns (Australia) Sep 21 (IANS) In a major step that will aid India track and recover black money stashed abroad, G20 finance ministers Sunday agreed on allowing automatic sharing of all bank information with tax authorities at the end of each year, starting 2017.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Yemeni government, Houthi rebels sign truce deal
Sana'a, Sep 22 (IANS) The Yemeni government and Houthi rebels signed a ceasefire deal late Sunday after days of deadly clashes in the capital Sanaa, an official said. The two sides agreed to cease fire in Sanaa...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
US bombs IS positions in Iraq's Sinjar region
Baghdad, Sep 22 (IANS/EFE) US combat aircraft Sunday bombarded positions of the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist group in the Sinjar region of Iraq's Nineveh province, Kurdish sources said. A Kurdish leader of the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
'Golden Boy' director slams Sharon Stone
Los Angeles, Sep 22 (IANS) Italian director Pupi Avati, who was happy to team up with Sharon Stone in his low-budget movie "Golden Boy", says the actress was a demanding diva on the set and gave him a hard time. Avati...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
UN chief welcomes unity government deal in Afghanistan
United Nations, Sep 22 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday welcomed the conclusion of the presidential polls in Afghanistan as well as an agreement on formation of a national unity government in the country...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Miley flaunts chicken and waffles print bikini
Los Angeles, Sep 22 (IANS) It seems Miley Cyrus' latest style is inspired by food. The singer, who took a break from her Bangerz Tour, was spotted lounging in a chicken and waffles print bikini. The 21-year-old, who...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Israel steps up cyber defence with new body
Jerusalem, Sep 22 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday announced the establishment of a new organisation that would spearhead the country's cyber defence operations. The decision was made pursuant...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Wife of British hostage asks IS to free him
London, Sep 22 (IANS/EFE) The wife of a British taxi driver kidnapped by the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist group last December Sunday asked the jihadis to show compassion and set him free. Barbara, the wife of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Clashes with IS continues across Iraq
Baghdad, Sep 22 (IANS) Fierce clashes continued between the Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist group across the crisis-torn country Sunday, security sources said. In western Anbar...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Tessa James diagnosed with cancer
Tessa James has been diagnosed with cancer. The former 'Home and Away' star, 23, is battling Hodgkin's lymphoma and has returned to the Gold Coast in Australia to be with her husband Nate Myles. A statement released...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Five Boko Haram terrorists surrender in Nigeria
Abuja, Sep 22 (IANS) Authorities in Nigeria Sunday confirmed that some Boko Haram terrorists have begun to surrender voluntarily following relentless onslaught by troops. At least five terrorists surrendered Saturday...
Read more on Politics Balla