Ender's Game: Asa Butterfield Q&A

14 March 2014

With Ender's Game in Sky Store, we persuaded British star Asa Butterfield to take time out from his A-Level studies to chat to us about working with Hollywood legend Harrison Ford, performing weightlessly and what's coming next for the teenage star.

Sky Movies: When did you first get involved in Ender's Game?

Asa Butterfield: It was quite a long time now. We started filming in the Spring of 2012. Wow, that was a while ago. We were shooting in New Orleans which was amazing. It was the first time I'd been there - it's a great city.

SM: How did you work on your role?

AB: I read the script about a year - or maybe half a year - before I started filming. I fell in love with it as I'm a massive science fiction fan. I'm a huge fan of the story and the character was something that really appealed to me. I knew I really wanted to do it.

SM: You seem to thrive on films with authoritarian regimes - you did The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas?

Ender's-Game-On-Set-DIAB: That didn't really prepare me for this role. Obviously, they're two different characters. Ender's whole mindset is different from Bruno in The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. He's an innocent whereas Ender knows what's going on and knows what he has to do about it. That was quite interesting to see.

SM: It's a real A-list cast - what was it like squaring up to Harrison Ford?

AB: It was amazing. Both Harrison and Sir Ben Kingsley, who I'd worked with before, were great teachers to not just me but the whole cast. We learned a lot by just watching them and seeing what they do. Seeing the way they hold themselves both on and off set. It was inspirational.

It was awesome seeing Sir Ben play two completely different characters, the changes he made physically and in his voice. Everything about him pretty much changed.

SM: How did you get to the heart of the role of Ender?

AB: Physically, he's quite a powerful character so I had lots of physical training. It was military - learning how to march and learning how to salute. All the things you'd learn at a military academy which was helpful when you were trying to get into the heads of these characters and the sort of things they were being put
through. It was quite tough, really. Because Ender is such a great leader I had to find the sort of things that make a great leader - the image you have to take and the energy you have to give off.

SM: Had you read the novel before you made the film?

AB: I hadn't, no. I'd heard of it but I hadn't read it until just after I had read the script. I immediately went out and bought it...and loved it.

SM: The weightless scenes looked incredible - how did you achieve those?

Ender's-Game-DIAB: Those were a lot of fun. We originally had an astronaut who had been to space come in and talk to me, the rest of the cast, the director and the stuntmen. He showed us videos that showed what it was really like to be in space. You have many ideas in your head about what it would be like to be in zero gravity but when you're actually there it's totally different - the physical limitations you have.

SM: What's the word on a sequel?

AB: I'm asking the same question. I'd love there to be a sequel. I'd love to be able to play the character again. I had a lot of fun. At the moment there is no word. Fingers crossed.

SM: And what about working with Gavin Hood?

AB: I'd love to work with Gavin Hood again. Gavin's amazing - I've never worked with a director like him. He's so energetic it's sort of contagious his passion towards the project. We all fed off of that and it made us all feel that much more strongly about bringing the story to life."

SM: What will people take away from the film?

AB: This film has the opportunity to teach people, particularly young people, morals and leadership. It shows that people, no matter how perfect they may be, always have a darker side to them. It's really
down to the audience to decide what they want to get out of it...because there's so much you can.

SM: What are you doing now?

AB: I'm at school. I got back from New York on Friday where I've been for the last few months filming an independent film called Ten Thousand Saints. That was a lot of fun. It's a coming of age story set in New York City in the 1980s.

My character's a sort of punk skater who's pretty messed up. He's had a pretty disturbed childhood and he's into drugs. I don't want to give away too much but, after his friend overdoses, he gets taken to New York by his dad, who abandoned him when he was a kid.

SM: You've made a young career with some pretty heavy stuff. How do you deal with that?

AB: I don't think there's any point in being an actor unless you challenge yourself. Every role or audition I go for I always want something new, something fresh. You want to keep it different and never get stuck into a certain type of role or certain type of genre. That's always quite a hard thing to do. As a young actor you've got to mark yourself in as many different styles as possible. That's really what I'm trying to do.

Ender's Game is available in Sky Store now