I wrote last week about how to respond to the hiring of notorious homophobe Orson Scott Card by DC Comics to write Superman. Today, Andy Lewis and Borys Kit at the Hollywood Reporter explore how Card’s noxious, anti-gay views pose a challenge to the movie adaptation of his most famous work, Ender’s Game:
Now Summit faces the tricky task of figuring out how to handle Card’s involvement. The first big challenge will be whether to include him in July’s San Diego Comic-Con program. Promoting Ender’s Game without Card would be like trying to promote the first Harry Potter movie without J.K. Rowling. But having Card appear in the main ballroom in front of 6,500 fans could prove a liability if he’s forced to tackle the issue head-on during the Q&A session.
“I don’t think you take him to any fanboy event,” says one studio executive. “This will definitely take away from their creative and their property.” Another executive sums up the general consensus: “Keep him out of the limelight as much as possible.”
Ender’s insiders already are distancing themselves from the 61-year-old author. “Orson’s politics are not reflective of the moviemakers,” says one person involved in the film. “We’re adapting a work, not a person. The work will stand on its own.”
This seems like the most appropriate way to go in a situation that’s the opposite of DC’s decision to hire him. Summit may have had to give Card money for the right to adapt his material. But they don’t have any obligation to give him a platform. And I hope that Summit feels comfortable exercising their free speech rights as a corporation and as individual executives to make clear what they found valuable in Ender’s Game, and how it’s separate from their opinion of Card’s work to not just oppose equal marriage rights, but to push for the recriminalization of homosexuality. Maybe Card will revel in nine months of condemnation, and he’ll get to feel self-righteous about what’s happening to him. But I do think there’s something fitting about the forthcoming illustration that fiction isn’t bringing more people around Card’s way of thinking. Instead, his bigotry is going to drive people away from some of the best work he ever did.