Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield
1 April 1997
London, United Kingdom
Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield (//; born 1 April 1997) is a British actor. He became known for playing the main character Bruno in the Holocaust film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), for which he received nominations for the British Independent Film Award and the London Film Critics Circle Award for Young British Performer of the Year at the age of 11.
For his leading performance as Hugo Cabret in Martin Scorsese's drama Hugo (2011), Butterfield received considerable praise and was awarded the Young Hollywood Award for Breakthrough Performance—Male and was nominated for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer and the Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer, among other accolades. He was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor for playing Nathan Ellis in Morgan Matthews's X+Y (2014). In 2019, Butterfield began starring as Otis Milburn in the Netflix comedy-drama series Sex Education.
Butterfield first started acting at the age of 7 at the Young Actors Theatre Islington. Later, he secured minor roles in the 2006 television drama After Thomas and the 2007 film, Son of Rambow. In 2008, he had a guest role playing Donny in the television series 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 elected 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. Butterfield appeared as Mordred in a number of subsequent episodes.
In 2010, he had a small part in The Wolfman. He starred as Norman Green in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010). 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 released on 23 November 2011, and achieved critical success.
Butterfield played the title role of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin in the film adaptation of the Orson Scott Card novel Ender's Game. The film was released in 2013. After the shooting of Ender's Game, Butterfield was immediately cast in coming of age British drama X+Y  as Nathan Ellis, a mathematical savant on the autism spectrum selected to compete with other gifted children on a United Kingdom team in an internationally renowned mathematics competition. The film premiered on 5 September 2014 at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released in UK cinemas on 13 March 2015. Butterfield's performance received widespread critical acclaim and saw him nominated for the BIFA Award for Best Actor.
Later in 2013, Butterfield was reported to be in talks for a role in King of Kastle and in May, he was cast in The White Circus. In early 2014, Butterfield was cast in a film adaptation of Ten Thousand Saints, which was released on 14 August 2015. In November 2015, he joined the ensemble cast of Shane Carruth's third film, The Modern Ocean.
In 2016, he starred as Jacob "Jake" Portman in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. He also starred as Gardner Elliot in the film The Space Between Us and as Sebastian in The House of Tomorrow in 2017.
Butterfield enjoys making and producing music, and released a mashup of the songs "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus and "Making Plans for Nigel" by XTC. Along with his brother, he is part of a music group called Mambo Fresh. In late 2012, Butterfield co-designed a turn-based video game for iPad with his father and brother called Racing Blind. The game was released to the App Store on 7 April 2013.
Butterfield is involved in competitive Nintendo gaming. In 2017, he competed in the Nintendo World Championships, where he was eliminated early in the invitational. He is an enthusiastic player of competitive Super Smash Bros. and has signed with esports team Panda Global under the tag "Stimpy". His first appearance with the organisation was at Genesis 6. In October 2020, he was signed by Team Liquid.
Since 2017 Butterfield has taught an annual acting masterclass at The Reel Scene acting school in London. The three-day "Asa Butterfield Masterclass" course covers improvisation techniques and students work on scenes from Butterfield's films, which are then filmed on the last day. In 2018, students appeared as extras in the film Greed in which Butterfield appeared.
|2007||Son of Rambow||Brethren Boy|
|2008||The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas||Bruno|
|2010||Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang||Norman Green|
|The Wolfman||Younger Ben Talbot|
|2013||Ender's Game||Ender Wiggin|
|2014||X+Y||Nathan Ellis||Also known as A Brilliant Young Mind|
|2015||Ten Thousand Saints||Jude Keffy-Horn|
|2016||Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children||Jacob "Jake" Portman|
|2017||The House of Tomorrow||Sebastian Prendergast|
|Journey's End||Jimmy Raleigh|
|The Space Between Us||Gardner Elliot|
|2018||Then Came You||Calvin Lewis|
|Slaughterhouse Rulez||Willoughby Blake|
|2006||After Thomas||Andrew||Television film|
|2008||Ashes to Ashes||Donny||Episode: "Episode 6" (season 1)|
|2017||Thunderbirds Are Go||Space Controller Conrad (voice)||1 episode|
|2019–present||Sex Education||Otis Milburn||Main role|
|2020||50 States of Fright||Brandon Boyd||3 episodes on Quibi|
Awards and nominations
- "ENDER'S GAME - Trailer Announcement & Preview". 2 May 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2017 – via YouTube.
- "Asa Butterfield Talks Hugo - Young Hollywood Awards 2012". 9 June 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2017 – via YouTube.
- "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Production Notes". Miramax Films. 2008. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- Clarke, Cath (22 July 2010). "Act your age: the new wave of high-powered child stars". The Guardian. London, UK.
- Lamont, Tom (28 December 2019). "Sex Education's Asa Butterfield: 'I feel more confident talking about sex'". The Guardian.
- "Star Interview: Asa Butterfield". TVhits.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- Davies, Janet (23 October 2008). "Janet's Spotlight: "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas"". ABC 7 News. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – Casting the characters". Last Broadcast. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- Carnevale, Rob. "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – Mark Herman and David Heyman interview". Indie London. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
- Maher, Kevin (30 August 2008). "Meet the child stars of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas". The Times. London, UK. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
- Wiseman, Andreas (6 March 2013). "Asa Butterfield and Rafe Spall circle Origin Pictures' X + Y". Screen Daily. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- "Festival - What's On - September 5". Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- Bailey, Cameron. "X+Y (programme note)". TIFF.net. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- "Profile: X+Y (film)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- McNary, Dave (19 November 2013). "Asa Butterfield Planning to Blackmail Clive Owen in 'King of the Kastle'". Variety. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Brown, Brigid. "'Hugo's Asa Butterfield Reunites with Chloe Moretz in 'The White Circus'". BBC America. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- McNary, Dave (10 January 2014). "Ethan Hawke, Asa Butterfield Join 'Ten Thousand Saints'". Variety. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Weaver, Ryan (23 January 2014). "Emile Hirsch joins Ten Thousand Saints". Screen Daily. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Kit, Borys (3 November 2015). "Anne Hathaway, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Radcliffe to Star in 'The Modern Ocean'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- Fleming Jr., Mike (6 February 2015). "Samuel L. Jackson To Star in Tim Burton's 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children'". Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- "The House of Tomorrow". San Francisco Film Society. Archived from the original on 18 March 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- White, Peter (17 May 2018). "Gillian Anderson & Asa Butterfield Join Netflix Dramedy 'Sex Education'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
- "Sex Education: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- Kraemer, Kristen (23 November 2011). "8 Things To Know About Hugo's Asa Butterfield!". Alloy Media, LLC. Los Angeles, California, US. Archived from the original on 10 July 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
- "Racing Blind - find out all about it". Sam Butterfield. 2012. Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- "The Nintendo World Championships 2017 winner has been crowned!". Archived from the original on 23 March 2019.
- "Sex Education star Asa Butterfield joins Panda Global to compete in Genesis 6". Dot Esports. 2 February 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- Linhares, Nádia (7 October 2020). "Asa Butterfield from Netflix's Sex Education signs with Team Liquid". Dot Esports. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
- "Asa Butterfield 2020 3 Day Acting Masterclass in London". The Reel Scene.
- Bloom, Adi (23 August 2013). "Film - Inside the secret world of teenage maths prodigies". Times Educational Supplement. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- "X Plus Y announces cast". BBC. 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 2 September 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "Toronto International Film Festival 2013". Bankside Films. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- "News". Thunderbirds Are Go.
- "Hunger dominates nominations for British Independent Film Awards". Metro.co.uk. 28 October 2008. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- Foley, Jack. "British Independent Film Awards 2008: Nominations in full". Indie London. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- "London critics pick Slumdog". Variety. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
- "17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards (2012) – Best Picture: The Artist". Critics' Choice. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- "17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards (2012)". Critics' Choice. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- "Tom Hiddlestone (Thor) | Best Male Newcomer | Jameson Empire Awards 2012". Empire Online. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- Goldberg, Matt (29 February 2012). "Saturn Award Nominations Announced; HUGO and HARRY POTTER Lead with 10 Nominations Each". Collider. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
- "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards". Young Artist Awards. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- "2012 Young Hollywood Awards Winners". PopSugar. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- "Critic's Choice Awards 2014:Complete List of Nominations". EOnline. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- "The Moet British Independent Film Awards Asa Butterfield BIFA Nominations and Awards". BIFA. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- Goldberg, Matt (26 February 2014). "Saturn Award Nominations Announced; GRAVITY and THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Lead with 8 Nominations Each". Collider. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Ceron, Ella (19 June 2017). "Teen Choice Awards 2017: See the First Wave of Nominations". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
- Lupo, Marc (13 August 2017). "Teen Choice Awards 2017: All the Nominees and Winners". Us Weekly. American Media, Inc. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
- Trendell, Andrew (20 January 2020). "NME Awards 2020:Full list of nominations revealed". NME. nme.com. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
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