<p>Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in &quot;Ender's Game&quot;</p>

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in "Ender's Game"

Credit: Summit

Set Visit: 'Ender's Game' with Asa Butterfield walks the line of high-tech fun and violence

Why Ender Wiggin doesn't get a girlfriend

Even for a film that stars mostly children, “Ender’s Game” has some different conceptions on what qualifies as “fun.” 

In a lofty, enormous warehouse space in New Orleans, there are plots of sets daisy-chained together in overwhelming greys and blacks and muted lights, literally littered with pieces from a “NASA junkyard.” Childrens’ school desks are outfitted with what could be described as 20th generation iPads, seats squatting close to the ground like a 2nd grade classroom. Lockers and bunks are uniformly monochrome, with few personal effects poking out from the grates. These are also small, the doorframes like those for a Hobbit. The proximity of small set to small set make each space as claustrophobic as the next. Also, these are all to live in outer space, mind you: in the future, in space, the floors have an otherworldy curvature.
 
It’s a coldly military setup for a soldier academy, where Ender Wiggin, his alleys and enemies will learn to battle the enemy – Formics, aka Buggers, who have engaged with Earth in galactic wars before, each side having won an era. The humans are gearing up for their next war, and are using actual children – starting when they’re 6 years old – as their army and commanders, to think outside of the box in battle so that this conflict will be their last. Winner-take all in a species-on-species contest, with pre-adolescents leading the way.
 
Fun, right?
__
 
“There’s a device… a bone saw, it’s an actual, a real prototype from a university, it’s just a really crazy thing that they use to perform surgery...”
 
“I’d take the flashgun. That just sounds super gnarly! That’d be way better than paintballing or something…”
 
“It’s like a flight simulator where it’s all the switches, it’s a joystick and a screen, and they said it’s the closest you can get to an actual fighter plane…"
 
“The wires… look super fun, but taking the whole ‘I have to do multiple things at the same time,’ having to be in zero gravity, and if I’m in pain I have to look like I’m not in pain…”
 
Aramis Knight, Nonso Anozie, Suraj Partha and, of course, our Ender (Asa Butterfield) are talking about the props and weaponry in Battle School. As part of their characters’ education, they’re thrust into a zero gravity chamber called the Battle Room with practice guns that can paralyze the members of their various teams. In these scenes in Orson Scott Card’s book, it’s also the breeding ground for serious beefs between students, the wick before a bang.
 
“It’s sort of like ‘Lord of the Flies’ in space, “ says “Ender’s Game” director Gavin Hood matter-of-factly.
 
For him and producers like Bob Orci, Linda McDonough and Lynn Hendee, this movie has arrive after 15 years of getting the option, the making-of a beloved sci-fi adaptation with very mature themes and every opportunity to screw it up. For those 15 years, studios have proposed making a very different film than the book: Ender has a love interest, Ender flies actual fighter planes, the ant-like Buggers are presented as “clearly evil” and humans are always good. There are scenes of violence and psychological abuse in “Ender's Game” that would rival some rated R films (thought this will be a PG-13).
 
“I was in the military, I was drafted when I was 17 years old, and it had a profound affect on me, and when I read Ender’s Game [there was the] feeling that you were very much a number in an organization with strong authority figures that you were not supposed to question, and yet feeling that you wanted to rebel against it,” Hood said.
 
Some of these authority figures will come from the gruff forms of Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff, Viola Davis as Major Anderson and Ben Kingsley as the mysterious war hero Mazer Rackham. Their physical challenges are few compared to the children’s cast – which also includes “True Grit” star Hailee Steinfeld as Petra – who in addition to going to NASA space camp, they learned judo, akido, sparring, wire work, took military training and learned cadences, were “punished” with pushups and sit-ups. But, hey, they also get to fly down a zip line.
 
“So often, there are many films and they’re fantastic and they’re fun and they’re wonderful, but it’s like ‘That was great, do you want to get pizza?’ As opposed to a story like ‘Ender’s Game,‘ where kids really talk about it, [questions like] ‘Is that right?,’ ‘Is he too violent?’ and these are important conversations for young people to engage in, in an exciting way,” Hood said. “And if you can deliver that kind of debate and conversation in an exciting, visually powerful way, then I think you’re getting a little more than just spectacle. If we can combine spectacle with a good old-fashioned argument afterwards, then that’s kind of fun.”
 
That word again.
 
--
 
That’s one you could use for Asa Butterfield’s breakout, in “Hugo,” in which he builds a fantastical, cinematic plot around Ben Kingsley’s Georges Méliès. The two will have another master-and-protégé relationship in “Ender’s Game,” though each disposition will be far from the meek, gentle characters from Scorsese’s 2011 3-D film.
 
Butterfield’s delicate features are situated in such a way on his crystalline skin that his age is hard to pin down. He’s like anime. Ender’s journey in the book begins around age 6; Butterfield’s going to be playing a solder roughly twice that age and then some, with his tenure taking place over an unspecified time. The Brit learned an American accent for the part, though at time he’ll be a “man” of few words.
 
“Ender is pretty up there in terms of ideal characters for any 14-, 15 year-old boy. Of course it would still be pretty cool to be James Bond, but this is definitely up there,” Butterfield said on set. He had just finished explaining the tight flash suits, and his training regimen. Perhaps a “Bond” role wouldn’t be so unimaginable. “I wanted to appeal to the massive cult that already follows ‘Ender's Game.”
 
The cult of “Ender” has developed, in part, because of the realistic scenes depicting empirialism, bullying and fear, being the smallest kid in a group of young boys who want to be grown men, physically and metaphorically. There are scenes of violence that Butterfield’s Ender endures that would easily break your average child.
 
In terms of adults getting kids to do their violence for them, McDonough saw some similarities to the “Hunger Games” franchise.

“It was exciting for us just in terms of seeing [‘Hunger Games’] marketed so successfully and widely when it deals with issues of violence and younger people because that, historically, has been one of the big challenges, [one of the] reasons why this film hasn't gotten made,” she said. “It's not a family film in the way that an animated DreamWorks movie is. And if we tried to do that, which some people would argue has better box office presence, I think we would betray, fundamentally, the themes of the movie.”
 
Butterfield’s physical elegance and intelligence will be further revealed in the Mind Games, the virtual reality game the children play in order to learn problem solving skills. Those motion-captured scenes promise some of the most brilliant, more colorful and adventurous visual imagery of the movie, but is also an expression of the more disturbing scenery. Ender plays his Mind Game in from of classmate Alai, and executes an assault in the game so graphic, his comrade is practically forced to ask, “Why did you do that??”
 
“In the movie, that’s a pretty visceral experience… given that this is PG-13. It’s that moment when that awkwardness from that little act tells you volumes in an unspoken way: [Ender] says ‘That’s what they want from us here. Choose violence, you win. I’m just like my brother Peter,’” Hood explained.
 
“You probably experience [violence] even more [from] watching the actor, the emotional anguish that he has over those moments of regret and pain and struggling with those two sides of his nature represented by Peter and [his sister] Valentine… violence with a compassion and always torn by which choice he's going to make,” McDonough said.
 
“In the book, when you read, it's one thing. But when you audition the kids and you hear those little tiny kid voices, it affects how you look at the whole film, the credibility,” Hendee said. “It’s kind of funny.”
 
"Ender's Game" is in theaters on Nov. 1.
<p>Eminem at the Reading Festival on Aug. 24, 2013</p>

Eminem at the Reading Festival on Aug. 24, 2013

Credit: AP Photo

Listen to Eminem's new single 'Berzerk': Was it worth the wait?

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
Beastie Boys, Billy Squier's 'The Stroke,' Kendrick Lamar and a Kardashian slam

Eminem teamed with Rick Rubin and Dr. Dre for his new single "Berzerk," and went old-school. As in retro beats, retro jokes. Who would have thought, with Rubin...

This rowdy rock-based handle flyer starts with cadence and a sample from Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere": "Now this sh*t's about to kick off, this party looks wack / Let's take it back to straight hip-hop and start it from scratch." Cute, Em, now let's really get to our first maxi pad joke.

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<p>The Replacements at Riot Fest</p>

The Replacements at Riot Fest

Credit: The Replacements Live Archive Project

The Replacements reunited this weekend: Stream the whole live set

Riot Fest in Toronto was home to the first Mats show in 22 years

The MTV VMAs wasn't the only notable happening on Sunday night: legendary rockers The Replacements got together for the first time in 22 years to perform at Toronto's Riot Fest.

Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson were joined by drummer Josh Freese (nope, not Chris Mars) and guitarist David Minehan as they played a 22-song set over 75 minutes, with a little bit of banter in between.

"Hello. Sorry it took so long, for 25 years,we had a wardrobe debate. Unresolved," Westerberg began as he stood with Stinson.

The Replacements Live Archive Project captured good audio of the whole performance, which you can stream below or download in full here.

Are you the guy/gal who screams the lyrics to "Can't Hardly Wait" or "Swingin' Party?" And did you check that "Everything's Coming Up Roses" cover?

The Placemats will play the Chicago (Sept. 13-15) and Denver (Sept. 21-22) legs of Riot Fest, too. Should they survive these one, maybe there will be more to come?

The three surviving original members Westerberg, Stinson and Mars released a covers EP "Songs for Slim" for ailing former guitarist Slim Dunlap earlier this year.

Carly Rae Jepsen covering 'Part of Your World' from 'Little Mermaid?' Yes, please

Carly Rae Jepsen covering 'Part of Your World' from 'Little Mermaid?' Yes, please

'Call Me Maybe' singer has whoozits and whatsits galore

Carly Rae Jepsen has released a cover of "Part of Your World" from "Little Mermaid," as part of Disney's relaunch of the 1989 title. Thanks for this, universe.

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Watch Robin Thicke's absurd 'Give It 2 U' music video with 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar

Watch Robin Thicke's absurd 'Give It 2 U' music video with 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar

An imaginary conversation with Thicke on the making-of this silliness

"So, Robin, as the art director behind this next music video for 'Give It 2 U,' what did you have in mind?"

"Mostly I'd like to be surrounded by hundreds of beautiful, hard-working, talented college-aged women in various states of dress, while I do next to nothing at all. If we shoot it on a football field, perhaps that will give the impression that I'm athletic and that I'm desirable, because I am quite literally playing the field and committing to nothing but my avoidance of physical activity."

"Do you want it to have a similar feel to 'Blurred Lines?'"

"Yes, if we could intermittently throw the performing troupes' names and other names and stuff in red sans serif font all up on there, it might look like art, or sarcasm."

"Great, so the university dance teams will wear their usual uniforms?"

"Well, some of them. Others will need to wear protective upper body gear, like a football player, which will guarantee maximum discomfort and the threat of literally sweating ones' boobs off. Bring in the Luxury Girls, a name I only know as phone sex workers but might also be some other thing that involves cosplay. Also, make sure there is one fawningly beautiful model who is dressed head to toe in bags and mounds of cotton candy, a guise that no reasonable, mentally healthy male would ever sustain exception for those guys in the Lonely Island. I think that Andy Samberg is so funny... but Justin Timberlake's not in that group, right?"

"No, he's not."

"Phew, seriously, that guy makes me look completely self unaware."

"What would you like 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar to do in your video?"

"I dunno, let 'em riff with no design of choreography and maybe one rehearsal under their belt. Give them some fourrunners and girls of their own. What do you think of 'Ass Float?' Don't answer that, I already know the answer."

"Robin, what is your child Julian up to on the day of shoot?"

"Great question, maybe I should bring him on set, dress and style him in the same way as his dear old man, with slick hair and tailored suits and no signs of maternalism except for his infantile existence and the buttresses of mammaries. That way, we can intimate an almost parody-like cycle of ladies' men begetting ladies' men whilst shattering age boundaries of sexual maturity.

"Also, a sushi piñata."

"What?"

"Nothing."

"What will you wear?"

"I play the role as the referee and have stolen a suit from off of Beetlejuice's body."

"And thus the core of the 'Give It 2 U' video will be that it is very beautiful, very fun but ultimately vapid, with a couple of grossly exaggerated product placements and a hinted use of women of color as fashion accessories... so you and Miley are obviously getting along."

"Yes, couldn't you tell?"

"Now, Robin, the title 'Give It 2 U' seems like a very transparent rip, a page straight from the Prince playbook. Your falsetto sounds great."

"Thank you, that was my every intention."

What If Radiohead never released a pay-what-you-want album?

What If Radiohead never released a pay-what-you-want album?

'In Rainbows' was a revolution... for better or for worse?

This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?

By the time Radiohead had prepared and released their October 2007 album “In Rainbows,” the band had released six albums prior. All but one reached platinum status and they’d earned three top 3 albums on The Billboard 200. Radiohead had split with their record home EMI after 2003’s “Hail to the Thief” and yet continued to dominate on tour. Various members including Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood had also released solo and soundtrack projects: it was prime time to realize their value as an indie, thus time for some independent thinking. The British band released their next album “In Rainbows” digitally through their own website via a “pay-what-you-want” scheme. Fans could buy for $0.00. And Radiohead announced it only 10 days ahead of time. They later sold the album by licensing it to various labels, after the world poured out critical acclaim for the pay model (oh, and for the sound of it, too).
 
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<p>Lake Bell in &quot;In a World...&quot;</p>

Lake Bell in "In a World..."

Interview: Lake Bell talks ‘In a World...’ and her nude New York Magazine cover

Does the writer/director/actress think women need affirmative action in Hollywood?

AUSTIN - Lake Bell’s film “In A World...” – which she directed, wrote and lead acted– is laugh-out-loud funny, with what she calls a “scoop of message” on top. Leading the charge with a comedic ensemble that includes Dmitri Martin, Rob Cordry, Tig Notaro, Ken Marino, Nick Offerman, Stephanie Allynne and more, Bell outlines what is essentially a battle of the sexes.

Bell’s character Carol is a voice actor trying to make a dent in the commercial world doing voiceover gigs; Fred Melamed, who plays her father Sam in “In a World…,” is a master of the craft (both in the film and in real life). As Carol fights her way through auditions, and makes her way to the final round to utter the famed movie trailer phrase “In a world…”, she’s fights against the advisement of her father and other dude characters as the sole woman in a male monopolized industry.

But, y’know, with her voice. Or, rather, her voices.
 
Bell bowed the movie at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and it’s making its way to more markets today (Aug. 16). She’s made the rounds to promote, including some impressive late-night TV stops plus an eye-popping cover of New York Magazine, on which she poses nude. We reference both below in an abridged interview, on “In a World’s” messaging, feminism, femininity, her husband (tattoo artist Scott Campbell), Maxim, nakedness, age and sexism.
 
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Watch: Rihanna's 'Right Now' featured in commercial... is a new album due?

Watch: Rihanna's 'Right Now' featured in commercial... is a new album due?

Hint: Justin Timberlake is associated with this brand, too

Rihanna's song "Right Now" from her last album "Unapologetic" is the soundtrack to a Budweiser commercial. No, that in itself is not big news, but the hint of things to come may be.

If you'll recall, Justin Timberlake made a very high-profile alliance with Budweiser, for their Platinum brew, which help amp up his and his single "Suit & Tie's" visibility on television. Jay Z did, as well, as he and Timberlake promoted their Legends Of Summer tour together. These were part of Bud's "Made for Music" campaign, which now includes a second spot from Rihanna since July.

"Right Now" is the seventh single off of Rihanna's "Unapologetic," but it was introduced as the single back in June. Right now (heh), we're looking down the barrel of a particularly busy autumn-into-holiday album season, with Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Drake, Timberlake and other chart-toppers having announced new releases leading up to Thanksgiving.

And if there's one artist that loves the holiday shopping season, it's Rihanna (and if there's one label, it's Def Jam): Ri-Ri's last four albums have been released in either the third or fourth week of November, around those Black Friday sales, with 2009's "Rated R," 2010's "Loud," 2011's "Talk That Talk" and 2012's "Unapologetic" arriving at Nos. 4, 3, 3 and 1, respectively, on The Billboard 200 chart. See a trend?

MTV Italy wrote earlier this month that Rihanna was plotting a new album for November. MTV U.S. didn't really run with that baton, though the rumor was strongly circulated. And there may be a good reason why the network didn't pick up with it here: those MTV VMAs, Aug. 25, seemingly has every big name on board as performers. The Daft Punk "surprise" has been spoiled since the "Colbert" snafu, so maybe Rihanna may roll in, too. (Or maybe One Direction, because the boy band has a stop soon in New York to promote their forthcoming 3D film "1D: This Is Us." Brooklyn is just a subway stop away...)

Rihanna's Diamonds World Tour starts back up overseas in September and ends Oct. 8. She has no domestic dates listed in the in-betweens.

Prince joined Twitter and revealed a 'Groovy' new song

Prince joined Twitter and revealed a 'Groovy' new song

Living legend makes a meme, makes you scream with 3rd Eye Girl track

Prince has had a long complicated history with information technology and social networking, but he has done the unthinkable and joined Twitter.

 

 

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<p>Lady Gaga at Micky's</p>

Lady Gaga at Micky's

Credit: Micky's

Lady Gaga's 'Applause,' now with 100% more drag queens: Watch the lyric video

Put your hands up for Mother Monster's makeup

Lady Gaga's "Applause" leaked over the past weekend, more than a week earlier than the pop singer was prepared to reveal the song and its music video. So you can see why the lyric video for "Applause" looks a little rushed: it was shot in a rush, to add some traction to a leaky reveal.

Mother Monster gathered up some Little Monsters and some drag queens and hit Micky's nightclub and gay bar in West Hollywood just last night (Aug. 13), coming up with a colorfully cable-access performance for the vid. Featured is Gaga in her some of her "Applause" single cover makeup, with several performers rocking a similar look. Fans partied in close quarters with the singer and her new recruits.

After the experience, Gaga felt a calling.

"Can I PLEASE be a judge on drag race! I started out in these club, these women taught me how to serve!" she Tweeted today.

Watch the "Applause" lyric video below. The official "Applause" music video is still expected to arrive within the week, leading up to Gaga's performance at the MTV VMAs on Aug. 25. Her album "ARTPOP" is out Nov. 11.

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