He’s only 16 years old, but Asa Butterfield has already carved out a respectable acting career for himself. He received critical acclaim for his role as Bruno in The Boy with Striped Pyjamas, and he played the lead role in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. Now he has one of his biggest roles to date in Ender’s Game, Gavin Hood’s cinematic adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s beloved science fiction novel.
In the film, Butterfield plays Ender, a boy born into a world reeling from two devastating battles with an alien species. Taken to Battle School along with many other children to be trained as a military leader in preparation for a third attack, Ender soon emerges as the best candidate to lead the International Fleet in a fight for humanity’s survival.
During the recent Ender’s Game press day, Butterfield sat down with journalists for a press conference interview, which we were in attendance for. The young actor spoke about his audition for the film, what it was like working with Harrison Ford, the training he did for the role and more.
Check it out below and enjoy!
We heard you grew two inches during shooting.
Asa Butterfield: At least. It was a nightmare for the costume department (laughs).
Can you talk about the first day you met Harrison Ford and what it was like to work with him?
Asa Butterfield: I think I can speak for a lot of people in that they would be pretty nervous about meeting Harrison Ford, and I was definitely one of those people. For me, once you got to know him you do get on really well. He’s such an amazing person and an amazing actor. Because there were so many young people on the set, I think he really brought the best out in us.
We heard that you are a gamer. What was it like to be in this ultimate gamers’ movie and how much do you feel your generation has been influenced by technology?
Asa Butterfield: That’s a good point I think. One of the really important discussions even in today’s society is how children of my generation are growing up around this technology. It has shaped their lives. My little sister who is four can work my mom’s iPhone better than she can. It’s crazy how much has changed in the last five or 10 years, and then imagine 50 years from now how that’s going to become an even bigger part of our lives. So to take that idea and making it such an important part of the story was really exciting because I do enjoy computer games. Being able to take some of that knowledge of mine and put it into my performance was something new.
What’s your favorite game right now?
Asa Butterfield: My favorite game at the moment is this game called Dota 2. You might know it. It’s a PC game.
During the battle sequences, you are dealing with controls that you move with your hands in the same way Tom Cruise did in Minority Report. Of course, you only had to work with so much on that set because the effects were added in later. Can you tell us more about the choreography that went on during those sequences?
Asa Butterfield: That was really interesting. I didn’t have anything there because it was all green screens. It was pretty much down to me to almost convince myself that what I was seeing is there. Of course, you want to make it look like you are actually doing something and that you’ve got a purpose with each move you make rather than just flailing your arms around because then it’s impossible for the special effects team to make it look real and look like you’re doing something. I was taught a few different moves, but it was pretty much down to me to fit it all together and make it look like I was doing something.
Can you tell us about your audition for the movie and what you had to do?
Asa Butterfield: Well I first got the script in the summer of 2011 I think, and it really stood out to me. I’m a huge fan of science fiction so this is definitely one of my favorite scripts. I was flying around in zero gravity shooting laser guns. What more could you want? Then when I found that there was a book, I read the book and I loved that. When I Skyped with Gavin the director, we talked about the character, his view of him and where I wanted to take it. It was very interesting for me to be able to have that much of a discussion about such a complex character, and I ended up flying here to LA to audition in front of Gavin and just after that I got the role.