Enders Game - Harrison Ford
Enders Game - Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) © 2012 Summit Entertainment

It’s been 30 years since Harrison Ford journeyed into space with Star Wars: Episode VI, Return of the Jedi.  He returns to that genre in his new movie Ender’s Game, directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), which opens on November 1st.

Based on the popular novel by Orson Scott Card, Ford portrays Colonel Hyrum Graff, who is in charge of training a group of young warriors to save the planet from a devastating alien enemy. Among the trainees he encounters a remarkably gifted 12-year-old named Ender Wiggins (Asa Butterfield, Hugo), who is destined to become the ultimate military leader.

Harrison spoke of the movie at the press day for the film.

Did you ever think you’d go back to outer space?

Enders Game - Harrison Ford
Enders Game – Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) © 2012 Summit Entertainment

It doesn’t matter to me whether I go back to outer space or not. The job is the same and I don’t have any genre preferences, I’m looking for a good story, a good character, whether earthbound or not.

Had you read the book, and what appealed to you about doing this role?

I actually read the script before I read the book, and I thought it was an interesting

subject that I hadn’t seen in film. I saw an interesting character that was responsible for supporting some questions about responsibility and the military, and about relationships between young people and old people. A lot of things intrigued me.

What questions do you think children with ask after seeing this?

Enders Game - Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield plus Aramis Knight
Enders Game – International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and Ender Wiggins (Asa Butterfield). plus Bean (Aramis Knight) © 2012 Summit Entertainment

I think a lot of questions will be raised and that’s why I think it’s a really good family movie. I think young people are likely to drag their parents to this movie and require answers from them.

The themes are individual responsibilities, what the military does to create leadership capacity, but this is a strange situation, we’re talking about a world government meeting the threat of an alien invasion, so there’s not the usual issues of militarism and military adventure.

This is not national patriotism, this military is in aid of protecting life on Earth. So these themes, while they seem familiar, are a little bit differentiated by the world and the context that they come up in.

Gavin said that Asa was the only youngster he saw that he felt could go toe-to-toe with you.

Enders Game - Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford
Enders Game – Ender Wiggins (Asa Butterfield) and Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) © 2012 Summit Entertainment

Asa was cast before I was, and Gavin was glad that he felt that Asa had the strength to stand up against my character. I think that’s Gavin’s attempt to be flattering to me more than anything else. But Asa is an amazing young person.

A very accomplished actor, he’s got a wonderful capacity to focus and concentrate and has a wonderful work ethic, and that combined with talent I think bodes well for his future.

Would you consider doing another Indiana Jones movie?

Enders Game - Ben Kingsley and Harrison Ford
Enders Game – International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) and Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) © 2012 Summit Entertainment

I love my work and I continue to look for things that have the potential to be engaging and successful, whether it is the first time it’s been done or the fifth time it’s been done.

What I always look for in the Indiana Jones films was that we advanced the notion of the character, the audiences understanding of the character from each film to the other, in an ambitious way.

So Indiana Jones’ father would appear, his long lost love and the son he never knew would appear. All of that made it very much more interesting to me, that you can take advantage of the potential to build on the audience’s knowledge of a character.

Harrison was asked how special effects have changed since he did Star Wars and Blade Runner. Click the video here to watch his amusing answer.


Asa was asked about working with Harrison Ford. Play the video below to see his reply.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.