When I order you to draw a penis on a face, I mean contemporary pastiche, not Celtic ornamental!


When I order you to draw a penis on a face, I mean contemporary pastiche, not Celtic ornamental!

ENDER'S GAME

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. EARTH

THOUSANDS OF FIGHTER JETS battle COUNTLESS ALIEN WARSHIPS in a valiant attempt to DISTRACT THE AUDIENCE from realizing the rest of the movie is less “INDEPENDENCE DAY” and more “DEAD POETS SOCIETY IN SPACE.”

ASA BUTTERFIELD

(narrating)

Fifty years ago, aliens invaded Earth and kicked the crap out of us until Ben Kingsley figured out how to win the entire battle with a single blow. Now all the governments on Earth are obsessed with finding the one perfect military child prodigy to lead the human space fleet in round two of the war.

INT. INTERNATIONAL FLEET HEADQUARTERS

COL. HARRISON FORD and MAJ. VIOLA DAVIS are watching a LIVE FEED of ASA BUTTERFIELD beating another kid at a VIDEO GAME because KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS is in RERUNS.

VIOLA DAVIS

I’m very uncomfortable with all this.

HARRISON FORD

What, manipulating this child’s entire life to sculpt him into an unstoppable killing machine?

VIOLA DAVIS

No, not that! Our main character is supposed to be six years old! Asa Butterfield is 16! This is bullshit! I’ve read “Ender’s Game” 72 times! I demand we cast an elementary school actor, and nothing you can say will change my mind!!!

HARRISON FORD

Ever seen Phantom Menace?

VIOLA DAVIS

Okay, what if compromise on 12-ish?

HARRISON FORD

I thought you might see it my way. Now, try to ignore the fact that the child we’re watching live video of 24/7 is a young teenager rather than a first grader.

VIOLA DAVIS

Eww. Now I’m VERY uncomfortable with all this.

HARRISON FORD

Remember, it doesn’t matter THAT he masturbates; it only matters HOW he masturbates.

VIOLA DAVIS

And that would be…?

HARRISON FORD

Tactically.

INT. ASA BUTTERFIELD’S HOME

ASA heads home to play games with his brother JIMMY PINCHAK and sister ABIGAIL BRESLIN.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Okay, everyone in this movie is allowed to draw one and only one “character trait” card. Jimmy, you got “mean.”

JIMMY PINCHAK

I WILL FUCKING STRANGLE YOU!!!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Abigail, you drew “sympathetic.”

ABIGAIL BRESLIN

I’M SORRY HE TRIED TO STRANGLE YOU!!!

(sighing heavily)

Why bother to bring in an Oscar-nominated teenage actress with tons of actual talent for a role that’s as broad as Val Kilmer’s ass? Fuck it, I’m out of here. See you bitches at the end of Act 2.

Suddenly, HARRISON FORD busts into the family’s living room.

HARRISON FORD

Yer a wizard, Asa! At war games, that is. Now pack your bags because I’m here to take you to Hogwart’s School of Spacecraft and Military Strategy!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Hey, it’s Geriatric Han Solo! How’d they get you to agree to another sci-fi epic?

HARRISON FORD

They asked me if I wanted to growl at children every 20 minutes for two hours so naturally I agreed. Then when I learned it was for a movie, I was doubly thrilled.

INT. SPACE BOARDING SCHOOL

ASA and a BUNCH OF OTHER KIDS watch a video of BEN KINGSLEY defeating the aliens.

HARRISON FORD

Fifty years ago, aliens invaded Earth and kicked the crap out of us until a young Ben Kingsley figured out how to win the entire battle with a single blow.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

I mentioned that already.

HARRISON FORD

We’re going to mention it a lot. How else could we establish to the audience how dangerous and threatening the aliens are?

ASA BUTTERFIELD

I don’t know, maybe by showing people on Earth living in constant fear of invasion? Or by showing the aliens doing fucking ANYTHING?

HARRISON FORD

Yeah, either of those would be awesome, but they’d also be difficult so fuck it. That’s lesson number one for you, Asa — always take the easy way out. It’s the answer to all life's problems.

INT. BATTLE ROOM

ASA and the OTHER KIDS float around aimlessly in ZERO GRAVITY.

HARRISON FORD

Now it’s time to teach you kids how to play Space Quidditch. Rule #1: All the teams are called “armies” and the entire school revolves around them. Rule #2: There’s a ton of ways to score points, but none of them matter because you automatically win if you send any player through the enemy gate to catch the Golden Snitch.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Sounds fun, but how will that help us defeat the bugg—

HARRISON FORD

WHOA! Ix-nay on calling them “uggers-bay!” The omosexuals-hay are dying to protest anything associated with author Orson Scott Card as it is.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Shut up, buttface! My super military genius-ness just helped me figure out that other teenagers will follow me if I am defiant in front of authority figures!

HARRISON FORD

+100 leadership points! I’m promoting you to Hobbit Army!

INT. HOBBIT ARMY DORMITORY, WHICH LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE ASA’S OLD DORMITORY, BUT WE PROMISE IT’S AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ROOM

ASA moves in with his new Space Quidditch team.

HAILEE STEINFELD

Welcome, Asa! I’m another Oscar-nominated teenage actress wasted on a one-dimensional character. My one character trait is “supportive.” I’m your new best friend and potential love interest.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Hmm... I’m a 16 year old playing a 12-ish year old who’s supposed to be a 6 year old. Let’s not muddy the waters any further with a romantic subplot.

Hobbit Army Leader MOISES ARIAS storms into the room.

MOISES ARIAS

I hate you, Asa! And I’m going to make your life a living hell!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Awww, now I see how this army got its name! You’re adorable! I just want to pick you up and put you in my pocket!

MOISES ARIAS

Shut up! I’m not adorable! I’m super scary and intimidating!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Wooz my scary-wary widdle man? It's you! Oh yes, you are!

MOISES ARIAS

Why is no one ever intimidated by me?!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Dude, you were in 70 episodes of Hannah Montana.

HARRISON FORD

Yeah, test audiences keep thinking you’re comic relief. I’m going to have to go ahead and put Asa in charge of his own army instead.

INT. DRAGON ARMY DORMITORY, WHICH LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE HOBBIT ARMY DORMITORY, WHICH LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE ASA’S OLD DORMITORY, AND PLEASE DON’T LET THE AUDIENCE REALIZE THAT THIS ENTIRE INTERSTELLAR WAR MOVIE TAKES PLACE IN ONLY SIX DIFFERENT ROOMS, HALF OF WHICH ARE PRECISELY IDENTICAL

Once again, ASA moves in with his new Space Quidditch team. Meanwhile, HARRISON and VIOLA continue to BICKER like they’re in a SANDRA BULLOCK ROM-COM.

VIOLA DAVIS

Has Asa figured out how to beat the bugg—

HARRISON FORD

(Clears his throat loudly)

VIOLA DAVIS

Er, beat the aliens yet?

HARRISON FORD

No, and the screen behind me clearly says we only have 28 days to figure it out. But first, we have an even bigger problem on our hands.

VIOLA DAVIS

What’s that?

HARRISON FORD

The very nature of Asa’s character means he can beat anyone at anything, any time, without even trying. How the fuck are we supposed to create any suspense or drama in the battle room scenes with Asa’s new army?

VIOLA DAVIS

What if we just skip it and show “Dragon Army” slide up the digital scoreboard in cafeteria?

HARRISON FORD

Brilliant. It’s like the high-tech version of having a spinning newspaper headline fly at the screen.

ASA’S TEAM kicks everyone else’s ass OFF-SCREEN for the NEXT 28 DAYS.

HARRISON FORD

Okay, I’ve finally come up with a way to make a Space Quidditch match a challenge for Asa and dramatic for the audience! I’m going to send him against two opposing teams at the same time. And the other teams are going to get a head start. And Asa’s team has to carry an egg on a spoon all the way across the battlefield. And—

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Yeah, while you were talking, I already won that battle ten minutes ago.

HARRISON FORD

How?!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

I remembered your first lesson — always take the easy way out. We just ignored the other team and charged straight through their gate for an instant victory. How am I the only person in an entire school of child prodigies to figure that out?!

HARRISON FORD

You really are the chosen one!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

I guess, but there’s absolutely no way that strategy would have any practical application in a real-world battle, right? Not only would that be incredibly stupid, it would also render the entire battle school and the desperate race-against-time to train a bunch of military savants entirely fucking pointless.

HARRISON FORD

Umm… Hey, look, you graduated! Congratulations!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Cool, now do I get to fight the aliens?

HARRISON FORD

Heck no! I hope the opening scene didn’t fool you into thinking there would be any of that kind of stuff in this movie. Instead, we’re sending you to another school to play video games against Ben Kingsley. Now go hit the showers, kid!

INT. SHOWER ROOM

ASA is naked and alone, making him the very model of VULNERABILITY. ANYONE would be a THREAT to him right now. ANYONE EXCEPT…

MOISES ARIAS

Die, Asa!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Seriously? You know you’re at least five inches shorter than me, right? And the audience has seen me train extensively in hand-to-hand combat.

MOISES ARIAS

I was in charge of the double army you just defeated in Space Quidditch! You’ve embarrassed me for the last time, Asa! Now I will kill you!

ASA thoroughly and brutally BEATS THE SHIT out of MOISES.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Alas, now I am completely disenchanted with violence. I quit.

EXT. SOMEWHERE ON EARTH

ASA has reached his NADIR OF DEEPEST DESCENT, which according to SCREENWRITING 101 requires an OUTSIDE FORCE to show up and REINVIGORATE THE PROTAGONIST just in time for a CRITICAL DECISION at the END OF ACT 2.

ABIGAIL BRESLIN

Hey, I’m back. Harrison Ford brought me here to remind you that I exist. And if you don’t figure out how to defeat the aliens, I might not anymore.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Your visit has reinvigorated me! And I’ve made a critical decision! I’m going back to outer space to complete my training!

ABIGAIL BRESLIN

Whatever. Me and Hailee are gonna go talk Oscar nominee stuff. You wouldn’t understand.

INT. MILITARY OUTPOST NEAR THE ALIEN HOMEWORLD

ASA is introduced to BEN KINGSLEY, who will train him to be the GRAND ADMIRAL in charge of THE ENTIRE HUMAN SPACE FLEET.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Wait, if you’re still around, why does the military need me? Why not just lead the human fleet yourself?

BEN KINGSLEY

As the only human who completely understands our enemy, I necessarily feel love for them. Therefore, I might subconsciously hesitate to slaughter them in battle, causing us to lose.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

I had no idea this movie was capable of such complex characterization.

BEN KINGSLEY

It isn’t. I read the book. You see, it turns out that only a child has the purity of heart to utterly crush our enemies into a steaming pool of blood and gore.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

That’s… poetic?

BEN KINGSLEY

(singing)

I believe the children are the future… Teach them slaughter and let them lead the war…

ASA BUTTERFIELD

I guess it’s time for you to reveal your big secret. How did you defeat all the aliens in a single blow in the first war?

BEN KINGSLEY

I didn’t! Surprise! I’m really just some out-of-work actor they hired as a front man! I’m only in it for the drugs and chicks, man!

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Seriously?

BEN KINGSLEY

No, don’t be stupid. Can you imagine? You’d have to be a real asshole who didn’t give a single fuck about your most devoted fans to pull some bullshit twist like that! The truth is, I just blew up the mothership and all the other aliens fell over dead.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Wow, that’s not like The Avengers at all.

BEN KINGSLEY

At least we fucking explain WHY. The alien soldiers are under the direct psychic control of a bunch of queens—

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Whoa, I thought we were laying off the gay slurs!

BEN KINGSLEY

Ha. Anyway, kill the queens and the individual alien soldiers literally can’t think for themselves. They just go limp and wait to die.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Kind of like Val Kilmer. Hey-oh!

BEN KINGSLEY

Look, here’s the deal. I’m going to run you through a bunch of space warfare simulations. You’ll control the human fleet, and I’ll control the aliens. We’ve also brought in some of the child prodigies from your Space Quidditch team to serve as your lieutenants. If you kids can defeat me in a series of progressively more difficult battles, we’ll put you in charge of the real war.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Let’s get started!

AUDIENCE

(blinks)

BEN KINGSLEY

Okay, this is your final simulation! This time, it’s an assault on the alien homeworld. Win this one, and you’re our new Grand Admiral.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Piece of cake.

BEN KINGSLEY

Not so fast. You’ll be outnumbered two-to-one. Your enemy will have time to lay out its entire defense before your army even shows up. And you’ve got to carry an egg on a spoon all the way across the battlefield.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

This all sounds strangely familiar.

BEN KINGSLEY

Here’s the final twist. We’re giving you access to a new doomsday weapon. Shoot one enemy ship and it’ll explode into a disintegration bubble. Any other ships in that bubble will also explode into their own disintegration bubbles, and so on, in a chain reaction. Get the enemy fleet to fly too close together, and you can take them all out in one shot.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Yeah, while you were talking, I already did that ten minutes ago. The entire enemy fleet is destroyed.

BEN KINGSLEY

Look again.

A MUCH, MUCH LARGER ENEMY FLEET rises up from the alien homeworld.

BEN KINGSLEY

And now they know how your doomsday weapon works, so they won’t ever fly that close together again! I did it!!! I created a challenge worthy of the great Asa Butter—

ASA BUTTERFIELD

The enemy gate is down. Take the easy way out. Shoot the planet itself.

They DO. The ENTIRE ALIEN HOMEWORLD with ALL THE ALIEN QUEENS melts before their eyes.

BEN KINGSLEY

Holy shit. You killed them all. The entire species.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Well, a simulation of the entire species.

HARRISON FORD, VIOLA DAVIS, and all the LEADERS OF THE HUMAN MILITARY walk in.

HARRISON FORD

Um, about that. It's all been real. We couldn’t let you know the truth or you might have hesitated.

ASA starts to have an AMAZINGLY POIGNANT SILENT MOMENT that might bring the DEPTHS OF HIS PERSONAL HEARTBREAK and thus the SCOPE OF THIS HORRIFIC WAR CRIME home to the AUDIENCE, but then WRITER/DIRECTOR GAVIN HOOD forces HARRISON FORD to WALK ALL OVER IT.

HARRISON FORD

We’ve got more than enough Oscar nominees in this cast, once you add in Viola and me. Sorry, kid, we’re going to have to hit you with a tranquilizer.

They DO.

BEN KINGSLEY

Nominees? That’s cute. I’ll be over here thinking about Oscar winner stuff. You wouldn’t understand.

INT. EPILOGUE

HAILEE is watching over ASA when he WAKES UP.

ASA BUTTERFIELD

So did you see the twist coming? That was pretty awesome, right?

HAILEE STEINFELD

Yeah, I guess. But there’s one thing I’m still trying to figure out…

ASA BUTTERFIELD

Yeah?

HAILEE STEINFELD

What’s with the Val Kilmer hate all of a sudden? Did that seem gratuitous to anyone else?

HARRISON FORD

Because he gained weight. Let that be a lesson to you, young lady.

HAILEE STEINFELD

Damn. So what’s next in the Ender’s Game franchise? Lots of sequels, I hope?

VIOLA DAVIS

In the next book, 40-year-old Asa travels around the galaxy delivering eulogies for people he’s never met, which is apparently a job in the future. Then one day the internet becomes self-aware and teaches him how to teleport anywhere in the universe using only the power of love.

HAILEE STEINFELD

Are you fucking with me?

VIOLA DAVIS

Google it if you don’t believe me.

HARRISON FORD

Bugger that shit.

END.

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