What kind of training did you do for this movie?
Asa Butterfield: There was space camp which was a lot of fun. For us kids, the process of that was just to break the ice and because of that we got to know each other so well and I think that really comes across in the film as well. Not only that, we learned how to march and salute and do all the things you would learn at a military camp, so that was really good. It gives you an insight into what the characters were experiencing. We were up at seven, lights out at nine. It was hard but we had a lot of fun.
We also heard that you trained with Cirque du Solei as well.
Asa Butterfield: It was them and Garrett our stunt coordinator and his crew. They were amazing. They really made us feel comfortable up in the harnesses up high on the wires. Watching them pull off these flawless maneuvers and then us going up there and being up there, we were a group of flapping ducks in a pond as Harrison so eloquently puts it in the film. It was a lot of fun.
You have some interesting relationships in the film not just with the elders but also with your contemporaries. How did you go about establishing your chemistry and those interpersonal arguments?
Asa Butterfield: In terms of my relationships with a lot of the adult characters, when I was working with Harrison, it wasn’t like a verbal agreement but we both understood that because there was this constant tension between our characters, we had to keep an essence of that relationship in our characters off screen, which is really important. I think a lot of that is what helped develop my character. I wouldn’t say it was method, but it was definitely a lot more in depth than what I’ve done before in terms of that.
With the other kids, we were such good friends by the time we started shooting, and because of that it allowed us to trust each other more and to push the dynamics of the relationships to places which we might not of been able to had you not trusted that person. I think everyone was such good friends that when we took that onto the screen, even though mine and Moises Arias’ character of Bonzo aren’t exactly friends, it means we could test each other.
We see a lot of the character’s emotions through your eyes. What are your methods to cry in a scene?
Asa Butterfield: I know a lot of actors who don’t find it easy. I don’t find it easy. I don’t think anyone finds it easy. It is definitely one of the harder parts of acting for me because you have the physical difficulty and then you have the mental and emotional difficulty when it comes to different scenes. For my character in this film, he’s so complex and there are so many different things that he is thinking about. To incorporate that and then at the same time have to express that visually by crying or just being completely shaken up, it was an interesting experience.
What do you think of when you do a scene where you have to be sad?
Asa Butterfield: Just sad thoughts.
How do you personally deal with pressures and expectations of being in Hollywood?
Asa Butterfield: I think it is one of the things that we have in common, Ender and I. As a young actor there is often a pressure to be this star and to be in the limelight. I think what’s really helped me stay away from that is simply living in London which allows me to, when I’m not here filming or doing press, be just like any other 16-year-old. I play football, I listen to music. It’s not changed my life back at home as much as a lot of people think. I do think that’s really helped me become a more developed actor.
You play a military genius in Ender’s Game, and in your next movie you will be playing a mathematical genius. In real life, are you brilliant in any particular subject?
Asa Butterfield: It’s funny you said that. I think it’s always difficult no matter how similar the character is to yourself to get into that mindset because however much they are similar to you, they are not you. I like to think I’m smart, but I’m nowhere near a smart as Ender. With any character there are different ways that you approach in understanding him and in this film particularly because I had the novel to refer to. It’s always really helpful to have all of that information and all of those words which give you an idea into the background of your character as a whole.
What was it like doing an American accent for this role?
Asa Butterfield: I had never done an American accent in a film before. This is the first time that I’ve done it and for me, during the audition process, I had someone working with me. I think at that point in time, I had developed the accent for the words on the page rather than the accent to be able to speak it as though you were an American. When we started filming, Jess Platt, the acting coach really helped me understand, rather than just the words in the film, the sounds, so that you could take it into any situation, any conversation and improvise and still have a believable American accent. One of the things that also helped was being surrounded by a crew and cast that were all from the United States even though it was Louisiana. They all had a southern drawl, but it was interesting for me.
That concludes our interview but we’d like to thank Asa for his time. Be sure to check out Ender’s Game, in theatres this Friday!