Butterfield at the Hugo premiere, New York City, 21 November 2011
|Born||Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield
1 April 1997
Islington, London, England, United Kingdom
Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield (born 1 April 1997) is a teenage English actor known for starring in the Holocaust film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), portraying the young Mordred in the hit BBC TV Series Merlin, playing Norman in the 2010 film Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, and taking the title role in Martin Scorsese's 2011 fantasy Hugo. He most recently portrayed Ender Wiggin in the film adaptation of the science fiction novel Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
Life and career
Butterfield first started acting at the age of 7 on Friday afternoons after school at the Young Actors' Theatre, in his hometown. Later, he secured minor roles in the 2006 television drama After Thomas and the 2007 film Son of Rambow. In 2008 he also had a guest role playing Donny in Ashes to Ashes.
In that same year, aged 10, he played the lead role in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Director Mark Herman said that they came across Butterfield early on in the audition process. He was on the first audition tape he received and he was the third hopeful he met in person. Herman thought Butterfield's performance was outstanding, but only decided to cast him after auditioning hundreds of other boys, "so no stone was left unturned".
Producer David Heyman and director Mark Herman were looking for someone who was able to portray the main character's innocence, so they asked each of the children what they knew about the Holocaust. Butterfield's knowledge was slim and it was purposely kept that way throughout filming so it would be easier for him to convey his character's innocence. The final scenes of the film were shot at the end of the production period to prepare both him and Jack Scanlon for the dramatic ending of the film. He beat hundreds of boys to the role and also successfully passed the auditions for a role in Mr. Nobody for which he auditioned at the same time. He chose not to pursue the latter role.
In 2008, Butterfield appeared in the Merlin episode "The Beginning of the End"; he played a young druid boy sentenced to death by Uther Pendragon because he feels threatened by the boy's magic. Despite the Great Dragon's advice and the warning that Arthur cannot survive if the boy does, Merlin and Arthur, with the help of Morgana, help the boy escape to rejoin the Druids. When they are about to disappear into the forest, Arthur asks him for his name, which he says is Mordred, an important character from the Arthurian legends who is supposed to kill King Arthur. Butterfield appeared as Mordred in a number of subsequent episodes; however the role has now been recast, with Alexander Vlahos playing Mordred as an adult character.
In 2010, he had a small part in The Wolfman. He starred as Norman Green at the age of 12 in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010), working together with Emma Thompson. The film, and his performance, both received positive reviews. At the age of 13 he played the main and title character in Martin Scorsese's Hugo, adapted from the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Hugo was filmed from June 2010 to January 2011, it was released on 23 November 2011, and achieved critical and box-office success. Butterfield played the title role of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin in the film adaptation of the Orson Scott Card novel Ender's Game, which completed filming in the first half of 2012, and was released in 2013.
Butterfield was nominated in the category "Most Promising Newcomer" of the British Independent Film Awards, but he was beaten by Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire. He was also nominated for the NSPCC Award (Young British Performer of the Year) in the London Critics Circle Film Awards, which was ultimately won by Thomas Turgoose for his roles in Eden Lake and Somers Town. MTV Networks' NextMovie.com named him one of the 'Breakout Stars to Watch for in 2011'. He was nominated for "Best Young Actor/Actress" for the CCMAS, but the award went to Thomas Horn.
|Year||Title||Role||Notes and awards|
|2007||Son of Rambow||Brethren Boy|
|2008||The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas||Bruno||Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Nominated – Young Artist Award for Best Performance in an International Feature Film - Leading Young Performers (shared with Jack Scanlon)
|2010||The Wolfman||Younger Ben Talbot|
|2010||Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang||Norman Green|
|2011||Hugo||Hugo Cabret||Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Youth in Film
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Performer
Nominated – Empire Award for Best Newcomer
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role - Male
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor
Nominated – Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actor in a Feature Film
|2013||Ender's Game||Ender Wiggin|
|2014||X Plus Y||Nathan||Post-production|
|2015||The White Circus ||Pilot||Pre-production|
|Year||Title||Role||Notes and awards|
|2008||Ashes to Ashes||Donny||Series 1, Episode 6|
|2008–2009||Merlin||Mordred||Series 1, Episode 8："The Beginning of the End"
Series 2, Episode 3 & 11："The Nightmare Begins", "The Witch's Quickening"
|2008||Nominated||British Independent Film Award||Most Promising Newcomer||The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas|
|2009||Nominated||NSPCC Award[verification needed]||Young British Performer of the Year|
|2011||Won||Las Vegas Film Critics Society||Best Youth in Film||Hugo|
|2012||Nominated||Empire Awards||Best Male Newcomer|
|Nominated||Broadcast Film Critics Association||Best Young Actor/Actress|
|Nominated||Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor|
|Nominated||Saturn Awards||Best Performance by a Younger Actor|
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