Asa Butterfield

May 8, 2013

I am Asa Butterfield, star of films such as 'Hugo' and the upcoming film 'Enders Game'. Ask away!

Hi guys, after last nights escapade in /r/movies/ I was convinced to create a dedicated AMA. I answered a few questions last night, but ask anything, films, computer games, life in general or anything else you can think of. You can follow me on twitter @asabfb, and be sure to check out the latest trailer for Enders Game. Don't worry about getting me in trouble, I'm not gunna answer anything I'm not supposed to ;) Proof: well the AMA is officially over, thanks again for all the great questions! for people who want to join the steam group I've created where we can organise games go here

You were always such a pussy, now you're saving the world. Well done bro, very very proud x

EDIT: grammar

Ladies and gentlemen. My brother.

Hi Asa, The Stinson and Bonzo scenes in the book they are very dark and very pivotal to the mindset of Ender, how true does the movie hold to the book for that scene?

Very, me, Gavin and the other actors had long discussions about those scenes. I'm sure they will do justice to the way they written in the story. And like in the book, they are pivotal to Enders journey.

How do you handle schoolwork when taking on a movie?

What is your favorite part of filming for a movie?

I have roughly 3 hours of school every day when I'm filming. My tutor stays in contact the the school and I get sent work and exams etc... It's hard work, but its worth it eh. And the best part of filming, I would say meeting all the incredible people I've had the fortune to meet and work with.

Pardon me if this has been answered or if it's common knowledge but are you Canadian?

England bro, England.

What club do you support?

WHO TO WHO TO BE, WHO TO BE A, GOONA. Yes support Arsenal.

Did playing Dota 2 help you at all playing the role of Ender?

Unfortunately not, I didn't discover dota until a couple months after we wrapped filming.

When you organize a gank, do you get on voice comms and yell "NOW!"?

Oh god, I am so doing this,

mid or feed?


Before playing Ender, how much did you prepare in terms of researching the character? Also, what did you find most challenging about playing Ender?

Before I had even been offered the part, me and Gavin had numerous Skype sessions where we talked about character and the themes in the book. As with any adaptation, the original is a huge resource for an actor, and reading the book was no different. It gave a huge insight into the work and mind of Ender and in turn, it let me develop the character that much more.

Was there an 'aha!' moment where you really felt you understood the character of Ender?


Thanks Asa... can't wait to see the film!

Battle Room scenes were probably my favourite to shoot, and yes the Buggers are slick. I guess I could set up a Dota lobby and post the password on here. Comment if you'd like to play a dota game with me!

Absolutely! Might want to do it after your AMA is done though.

That's what I was thinking. Lets say this evening some point, in about 4 hours. ill post a password for a dota lobby. All in favour say AYE!

AYE! ... Don't you toy with our hearts Asa.

I won't ;) it will be first come first serve. So be on your toes!

Hey! It's Destiny, from SC2! Are you letting people into the game, even if they suck at DotA?! =D

OMG IT'S DESTINY. I love your shit man, watching your videos wants me to play Starcraft again. I have a pencil case that says 'brofestor hit squad' on it. Dude, seriously PM me and I'll add you on steam

you did deliver, thank you for that!

here are a few of my questions concerning Ender's Game.

I can't wait to see the movie, cheers!

I haven't seen the final cut so I have no clue as to how long it will be. There was a large amount of competition for the role, I'm not saying any name. But it was the hardest I have ever fought to get the part in a film. And yes, Orson came to the set once where I met him.

Okay. There’s a question. I typed this up at 1 AM last night when I heard you were doing this AMA. Bear with me.

Asa, Ender's Game changed my life. I read it for the first time when I was twelve years old, all in one night. I got to the ending, didn't believe it, read the ending again, and bawled, hot tears streaming down my face. I stuffed my mouth with my pillow so my parents couldn't hear me cry at four in the morning. Orson Scott Card had chained me to a truck and dragged me without pity through a dirt road, past a lake with a boy, a girl, and a raft in the middle of it in rural North Carolina, through emotions I had never experienced before.

Ender's Game is a part of what made me who I am. This book formed how I imagine. It nurtured a love for literature, books that make you hurt. It showed me the power of words, how you can force someone to imagine what you want them to imagine, even without describing it. It made me respect stories and the power of narrative. I learned that war is something that taints you, and that lessons are more often better when they’re not black and white in their simplicity.

Ender's Game influenced the path my life is taking. I'm a creative writing undergrad, seeking graduate degrees so I can write science fiction novels and short stories professionally and teach fiction writing and sci fi literature at a university somewhere on the planet. For goodness sakes, I just did a presentation on the way Card effectively uses, or rather doesn't use, adjectives and adverbs in Ender's Game in class the other week.

I’m ecstatic that you’re embodying Ender for a whole new group of children and adults who might not have heard of him otherwise, and that your performance will expose so many new readers to the novel. I want nothing more than for this project to succeed very much.

The question: I'm sure you've heard stories like this before, about people’s deep connections to the novel. How does working on a project that means so much to so many make you feel?

The moment I heard you were Ender, I thought back to Hugo and your work with Ben Kingsley, and got real' excited. Then, I heard the girl from True Grit was going to be Petra and I lost consciousness. (I got more excited over that than you. Sorry. I'm sure you understand. I mean. Seriously. Mattie Ross is Petra. Hailee was perfectly cast.)

TL;DR: I’m probably going to weep during your movie. Don’t worry; it’s not your fault. Thanks for putting my childhood hero on the screen.

EDIT: Taking out the spoilers until I figure out why the spoiler tags worked for me and not for some of you all of you, dang nabbit.

I'm thrilled that the book meant so much to you, and I hope the film lives up to it. In answer to your question, the feeling of joining a group of people that was already so vast felt amazing. I really was like joining a family. When I first got the role, I said to my mum. 'If there is one thing I want to accomplish by doing this, it is to make the lovers of the book happy. I don't want it to be another Hollywood sci-fi piece of shit'. And from what I've seen so far, I can tell you that it is incredible.

How is your first name pronounced?

Also, do you have to get approval from PR wranglers to do this, or are you just going totally badass maverick?

Ay-sah I guess. And no I d have any support on this, I decided to do this on my own accord. Now thinking about it none knows I'm doing this... Ah well.

A lot of people see you as a fan favorite if they ever cast a young Sherlock Holmes for a flashback sequence in BBC's Sherlock. Any chance you'd be up for it if they approached you?

I've heard this before, and I might get absolutely killed for saying this. But I've never watched Sherlock...

Can you describe your experience working on Merlin?

How was it? What did you like, dislike, etc? Any funny stories?

Ah Merlin, I had such a good time filming it. The cast and crew were amazing. Unfortunately they aged up the character so could no long be in it, but what can you do.

Are we gonna get naked kids beating the crap out of each other in the shower in Ender's Game, cause that was easily 90% of the appeal of the books for me.

Edit: I originally meant this ironically as a joke for my novelty, but seriously. They don't need to be naked (seriously if this shit got an R rating for pointless stuff like that I would be legitimately mad), but those shower fight scenes were some of the most intense parts of the book.

This is just my interpretation, but if they had kids marching up and down corridors naked. I'm pretty sure this would be more X rated than R rated.

But are the fights anywhere near as brutal as in the book? Please say yes...

The fights are brutal, and very real. But I'm pretty sure we are aiming at PG-13 so bare that in mind.

who is your favorite dota 2 hero?

Spectre or Spirit Breaker. Or if I'm feeling for some noob pwnage ill play Viper. It feels like I'm cheating.

Real men play support

That is a good point. I enjoy playing Earthshaker and AA. And initiators are my forte. Ala Magnus/Sand Kind

How do you relate to Ender in your personal life?

Any specific anecdotes about being on set or interacting with Harrison Ford?

As someone who's never played DOTA but has it sitting patiently in the steam queue, why should I (or anyone for that matter) play it?

Thanks for doing this. Hugo and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas were great films and I wish you the absolute best in your career! Also, neat to see that you were a redditor all along. Best!

EDIT: Oh! And because I'm a huge music nerd, I always like to ask people in interviews what they're currently listening to. You into anything good at the moment?

Yes, you should get dota. I've spent many hours playing it, but time well spent. Music omg, yes. Alright, I'll just shoot you some artists/djs that I LOVE. Bonobo, J Dilla, Disclosure, RL Grime, Elaquent, deamau5, Eprom, netsky, Nujabes and many more. And I'm so glad you enjoy my films, this is the reason I do what I do!

Eprom eh!? I just saw a gig of his last weekend!

My jealousy has reached new heights...

All about the Future Garage scene, I see.

You know it

So 21:50 GMT? Edit; Or 20:50 GMT?

20:50 GMT roughly

Would you marry me?

Happily <3

I've always wondered how child actors become so good at such a difficult craft so early in life. Was your talent "natural" or did you start developing it at a very young age?

It just happened, I had never considered it as a career before Striped Pyjamas. Luck I guess

Favorites for TI3?

I would love dignitas to win, simply because I love Aui, but I'm pretty sure it will be either IG or edit: I forgot about Alliance, they're on fire at the moment. Best western team at alongside liquid

haha holy crap i'm honoured.

We'll do our best :D

Holy shit, first Pyrion Flax, then Destiny, and now the Aui_2000? Life = made

in the trailer, at the end of it when you shout "now!" and it destroys the alien home planet. why did the director go this ... direction? why make ender more intense? he was supposed to be a quiet child etc?

Well if I had whispered 'now' it wouldn't have the same effect would it...

Are they going to keep the ending of Ender's Game the same? I'm not going to say anything specific. .but will it still rape my mind?

Enders game

What is your favorite smell?

Freshly baked bread...

How did you get into Hollywood ?

I wouldn't say I was in Hollywood but... I guess it just happened. Came out of nowhere really

How was working with Martin Scorsese? I'm especially curious as you were (as far as I know) the first child/teen in a main role in one of his films.

Marty is amazing to work with, I mean he is one of the best at what he does. Everything done by him has love, attention and heart in it. He is an inspiration

AYE, where are you going to post it? And also congrats man. It really seems like your life is going great, and you worked hard to make that happen. Keep it up!

I'll just put it in the main post :)

You seem to have the American accent down pat in the trailer. How difficult was that to learn?

The American accent. was hard to learn, but Jess Platt, the dialect coach did a great job. By the end of it I was confusing people I was American

how freakin epic will this movie be on a scale of 1-10?

Freakin 11


Have you given any thought to your long term career trajectory? You have been blessed with early success, but early success in your industry all too often turns out to be a curse. If you're not already, may I advise investing some of the money you get long term?

If I am lucky enough, I would love to continue my career in this line of work. It's something I love to do and people seem to love me doing it. What more could I want?

Why the username "Stimpers"? any significance for using it

ren and Stimpy show. Best. Show. Ever.

This kid's cool as fuck.

edit: for cazz

Aww shux. I appreciate it bro

How did you get your teeth to be so STRAIGHT! Did you have braces or a retainer? Your smile is perfect by the way :p Huge fan! _^

Never had braces, I'm just extremely fortunate :D

I'd just like to say you are awesome for answering questions for so long. Rarely do we ever have someone do this much in an ama.

It's alright, I enjoy doing it. And I haven't got anything better to do. Just revision :'( keep the questions coming! :D

Asa, please be honest. Do you feel as if the fame has changed who you are, for better or for worse? Many childhood stars subjected to sudden stardom often experience adverse affects. I am not suggesting you are like them, but am curious if you have noticed any change upon periods of reflection. Thanks!

Ever since I started acting, both me and my family wanted to make sure I was grounded. I'm still a 16 year old kid, and when I'm not filming I do what any other 16 year old does! Yes I've got a fan base and I might have a bit more money than other people my age. But in the scale of things, does that really make a difference. I'm still growing, still learning and still having fun. I go to a normal school, do exams and homework and play computer games. I play sport, go out with mates and just sit around watching films. I'm not a Hollywood creation, I'm just a 16 year old kid. Who just happens to be an actor. :)

Hey Asa! Thank you so much for not only doing this, but taking the time to reply with actual, uncanned responses!

Anyway, most people have asked the questions I could think of...

So, what is your favorite album of all time? And what is your fav movie/movie that made you want to get into acting?

Many thanks in advance!!!

It's no big deal, I love doing this :) Favourite album has got to be Donuts by Dilla, either that or Black Sands by Bonobo. And nothing made me want to get into acting, it literally was just a stroke of luck and a little pinch of skill I guess :)

Hello Asa!

Because of you, I've been playing SUPER HEXAGON. The game makes me giddy and is damn difficult. I'm stuck at Level 2 of hexagon stage T_T How did you manage to complete the game? You really are GENIUS. Give me some tips and tricks?? Oh, will Racing Blind be available in android??

Anyway, I'm excited that the Ender's Game movie is getting closer. Hope it lives up to my imagination and doesn't disappoint. I have faith in you, Asa. Finger crossed for Ender's Game. \o/

I see patterns, that is all.


I hope not :S

Everybody here is talking about Ender's Game, so I'm going to ask about Hugo. What was your faborite part about filming Hugo? How was working with Chloe, and with Martin Scorsese? Did you like being an actor since you were little? I really loved Hugo, it became one of my favorite movies right away. Thanks for doing this AMA

Hugo was mind blowing. Literally. The amount I learn from everyone on the set was phenomenal. Marty, Sacha and everyone else taught me so much and I would happily do it again

LoL > Dota2

deal with it.

U wot m8?

Will you play Dota 2 with me sometime? -GoDz

I will happily play with you GoDz <3

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Asa Butterfield conducted on Reddit on 2013-05-08. The Reddit AMA can be found here.