On The Ender's Game Set, Going Into Battle School And In Zero Gravity

By Kelly West 2013-10-28 07:51:15discussion comments
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Have I told you about the time I shook Harrison Ford's hand?

I didn't get into the business of professional geekery to meet my childhood idols. I do this because I love to be moved by great stories, great performances and great direction. And when I met Ford on the set of Ender's Game, I got to combine the two-- wandering through the set was one big geeky dream come true even before Ford, who plays the military leader Colonel Graff, came over to say hello. As a child of the 80s and a geek who's never been particularly cool by conventional or unconventional standards, Harrison Ford is about as iconic as it gets, and I spent the encounter trying to remember to breathe and act professional.

Ford wasn't up for speaking on the record to the members of the press who were on set that day, but he was very polite and extremely soft-spoken, So much so that you could have heard a pin drop in the room during our brief chat. My interactions with the man consisted mainly of a hand-shake, whatever attempt at eye contact I was able to make, and a very calm, all-too-brief discussion about the movie, before he had to return to set. And then I exhaled.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to where we left off in Part 1, visiting the Battle School led by Ford's character Graff, who's tasked with looking after the gifted children who've been selected to attend a space-set Battle School to train for the anticipated second war against an alien race called the Formics. Graff forms a bond with the story's protagonist, Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), an especially gifted and compassionate child Graff believes could be the one to lead humanity to victory.

We didn't exactly get to enroll in Battle School, but it felt like it when it came time for lunch, sitting down at our long cafeteria table just as all the kids from the film were sitting down at theirs. All of them were dressed in their costumes - blue cotton-looking jumpsuits, I believe - and wearing smocks to keep them from getting dirty while they ate. One of the kids forgot his smock and when someone came over to get him into one, he quickly apologized for starting to eat without it, noting that he forgot he was wearing it because the costume’s so comfortable. From what the kids had to say about the costumes, this probably wouldn't have happened if they were wearing the flash suits, as it sounds like those were pretty uncomfortable to wear. 

The flash suits are the outfits the kids wear when they're in the Zero Gravity Battle Room. In the book the Battle Room is where the various armies face off by shooting each other with harmless flash guns that freeze their suits, rendering them paralyzed within the game, leaving them to float around in zero gravity. Butterfield was polite in describing the uncomfortable suits, saying, "They’re not really comfortable, actually. And the flash suits... they look incredible, but really they’re quite, well, they’re comfortable to a limit. For the first 15 minutes you’re wearing them, they’re cool, but then they get hot."
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