Ender’s Game – Khylin Rhambo talks about adapting the book into a movie

Posted on 8 November 2013
By James McAllister
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Adapting popular books into big screen franchises has become par for the course for movie studios wanting to create the next must see movie.

Executives at Lionsgate have created an impressive catalogue of films using this method, from comoic book movies like Kickass, to popular vampire romance flick Twilight.

The North American entertainment company has been able to ensure a succession of successful movies by taking advantage of existing fan groups, turning their beloved fandom into a blockbuster franchises.

This can make the process of adapting a book for the screen a thankless task for filmmakers. Every decision is open to scrutiny by an expert group of fans – who often conclude ‘the movie isn’t as good as the book’.

Ender’s Game is Lionsgate’s latest attempt to launch a profitable franchise based on a popular book series. Purple Revolver caught up with actor Khylin Rhambo, who plays Dink Meeker in the film, to ask him about the challenges of trying to please both casual movie goers and hardcore fans of the book.

“The fans have be awesome” Khylin said,”They know everything about the book, but they understand that a movie cannot have all of the books moments in there because it only has a specific amount of time.”

Khylin admitted that you have to compete against the expectations fans build in their imagination when reading the book. Visual effects are being used to create massive spectacle scenes as a way for film studios to keep up with the reader’s imaginations, but this can be expensive.

“People can be so quick to say they cut out my favourite parts, but that happens. The visual makes up for it and I’ve heard nothing but great things about it.” adding “You have your own imagination of what the flash suits will look like, what the battle room looks like and what the simulators look like and a lot of people have said that it exceeded their imaginations.”

When Khylin was pressed about the obsessive fandom that surrounded Ender’s Game, he insisted that the fans had been understanding about the limiting nature of adapting a 400 page novel for the screen.

He said “I know that people always use the line, ‘the movie’s not as good as the book’, but they are definitely two different art forms and I’m glad that most people are able to see that.”

But, adapting someone else’s work for the screen has meant the movie was marked by negative press from the beginning.

Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game’s author, has voiced controversial opinions in the past about marriage equality that has resulted in some core fans boycotting the movie. Websites like skipendersgame.com have even been set up to rally support against the movie. But, Khylin believes the movie has been unfairly prejudged by a lot of potential fans.

“I understand people have their own views and I’m not going to say that what they are doing is wrong, but at the same time we worked hard enough on the film that it deserves a chance.”

When asked if it would prevent Ender’s Game becoming a franchise, the actor replied “There’s a lot of pressure when it comes to that because there are audiences that know the book and there are audiences who don’t know what the book is and just want to see a good movie so there has to be a happy medium”

But, when pressed on whether we would see a sequel to Ender’s Game, the young actor had no information to offer. “We got to wait and see, because actually no one knows anything about a sequel yet. But, it would be awesome to have a sequel and we plan on having a sequel, we’re just going to have to wait and see.”

With claims that the movie is already in financial trouble with the surrounding controversy of Orson Scott Card and stiff competition from Thor: The Dark World, industry experts think Lionsgate might take heed of these early warning signs and pull the plug on the franchise.