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Ender's Game Stars Face Gay Rights Controversy

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013  |  Updated 10:34 AM PDT
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Fans Enjoying Comic-Con 2013

(L-R) Hailee Steinfeld and Asa Butterfield star in Ender's Game.

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Real-world issues are rare at Comic-Con where fantasy almost always trumps reality. But for the stars and director of "Ender's Game," comments made by Orson Scott Card regarding gay marriage are leading to questions about the issue as they promote the science fiction film.

Card has expressed opposition to gay marriage in the past and that has led some to call for a boycott. There were no signs of protest Wednesday as young stars Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld and the film's director, Gavin Hood, began to promote the sci-fi adventure film. There was a full day of questions ahead, though, as "Ender's Game" took center stage Thursday.

"My view is I've been a member of the Courage Campaign for many years and I'm a little distressed by his point of view on gay marriage," Hood said.

"However, the book is not about that issue, so I hope people can still appreciate the book because I think he wrote a great book, and the themes and ideas in the book, I think, are universal and timeless and applicable, and I hope the book will still be appreciated as a great work of art, even though I don't agree with the author. I optioned the book, not an author, and I love what the author said in that book."

Card turned down an interview request by The Associated Press. He told Entertainment Weekly that the issue is now "moot" given the Supreme Court's recent ruling and, "Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute."

Lionsgate Entertainment also issued a statement rebuking Card's position and said it would hold a benefit premiere to LGBT causes.

Butterfield, who plays the film's title character, said "I agree with rights for everybody" and that Card's views shouldn't change how audiences receive the film or book.

"You can't blame a work for its author," the 16-year-old British actor said.

Hood said the book's themes of kindness and compassion are what drew him to the story, and he was surprised by Card's position.

"I think it's slightly bitterly ironic that those themes that are present in the book are not carried through on his particular view on gay marriage," Hood said.

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