SFX 240 PREVIEW Director Addresses Ender's Game Controversy

Gavin Hood's take on Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card's anti-gay marriage stance

Anyone who tells you all publicity is good publicity is lying. The movie adaptation of author Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game (the story of a genius kid trained to be the saviour of mankind in a war against alien bugs) has come into the firing line thanks to Card's rather disparaging views on homosexuality and gay marriage. There have even been calls for a boycott of the movie, so when we spoke to director Gavin Hood ( X-Men Origins: Wolverine ) a few weeks back, we had to ask him about the controversy.

"I'm frustrated and disappointed in the views that he's espousing, because I'm finding it very hard as a fan of the book," Hood says. "One of the key themes in the book is compassion, and kindness and understanding towards – for want of a better word – another species, and the notion that these great themes and ideas that are in the book are not playing out in his personal life is confusing and distressing to me. My feeling is that this is one of those very strange and unfortunate situations, much l like the music of Richard Wagner or Carl Orff, where it's often the case that art rises above the personal failings of its creators.

"I'm obviously disappointed and saddened. Ender's Game was written when he was younger, and I read what he's saying now and I read what he said then, and it feels like I'm looking at two different people, and that's confusing. But I faced this issue when I was in pre-production, and these views were coming out, and I remember coming home to my wife and saying 'Honey, I don't know what to do, part of me wants to just stop, I can't believe what's coming out of this author's mouth.' I love this book, but what is this? And then I thought this book is actaully completely at odds with what he's saying. I'm not going to be intimidated out of making a piece of work that I feel has strong themes and important themes and is beloved by many, just because its original creator is now espousing extremely extreme views, with which I don't agree.

"I said this is going to be a debate, and debate is good. The truth is that if we hadn't made the movie we wouldn't be having this discussion, and in some ways, in a twisted way I actually welcome the opportunity to express my views which appear to be the polar opposite to his. But the movie is not about the crazy things that Orson is saying. It's about the nature of man in terms of his capacity for violence and compassion, and questioning this merging of game and reality in drone warfare. All of those themes for me remain extremely powerful despite the views on gay marriage that Orson has, with which I strongly disagree."

Read more about Ender's Game ( in UK cinemas from 25 October), in the new issue of SFX , on sale Wednesday 18 September, in print and in digital. Why not subscribe to make sure you never miss an issue?

Richard is a freelancer journalist and editor, and was once a physicist. Rich is the former editor of SFX Magazine, but has since gone freelance, writing for websites and publications including GamesRadar+, SFX, Total Film, and more. He also co-hosts the podcast, Robby the Robot's Waiting, which is focused on sci-fi and fantasy.