Asa Butterfield

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Asa Butterfield
Asa Butterfield in 2019 (cropped).jpg
Butterfield in 2019
Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield

(1997-04-01) 1 April 1997 (age 25)
London, England
Years active2006–present
Notable work

Asa Bopp Farr Butterfield[1] (/ˈsə/;[2][3] born Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield on 1 April 1997) is an English actor. He has received nominations for three British Independent Film Awards, two Critics' Choice Awards, two Saturn Awards, and three Young Artist Awards.

Beginning his career as a child actor, Butterfield first achieved recognition as the lead of the historical drama film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008). He continued to headline films during the 2010s, starring in the adventure drama Hugo (2011), the war science fiction film Ender's Game (2013), the drama X+Y (2014), and the fantasy Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016). In 2019, Butterfield began portraying the lead of the Netflix comedy-drama series Sex Education.

Early life[edit]

Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield was born on 1 April 1997, in Islington, London, England, and is the son of Jacqueline Farr, a psychologist, and Sam Butterfield, an advertising copywriter. He was educated at Stoke Newington School.[4][5][6]


Butterfield started acting at age seven 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.[4][7]

In 2008, he had a guest role playing Donny in the television series Ashes to Ashes.[8] In that same year, aged ten, Butterfield 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".[9] Herman and producer David Heyman 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.[10]

Butterfield 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.[7] In 2008, he portrayed Mordred in the Merlin episode "The Beginning of the End"; Butterfield appeared as Mordred in a number of subsequent episodes. In 2010, he had a small part in The Wolfman.[11] He starred as Norman Green in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010). The film, and his performance, both received positive reviews.

At age 13, Butterfield 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 cast in coming of age British drama X+Y[12] as Nathan Ellis, a mathematical savant on the autism spectrum selected to compete in an internationally renowned mathematics competition. The film premiered on 5 September 2014 at the Toronto International Film Festival.[13][14] Butterfield's performance received widespread critical acclaim[15] and saw him nominated for the BIFA Award for Best Actor.

Butterfield at the 2014 Moet BIFA British Independent Film Awards

In 2015, Butterfield appeared in a film adaptation of Ten Thousand Saints.[16] In 2016, he portrayed Jacob Portman in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.[17] He also starred as Gardner Elliot in the film The Space Between Us and as Sebastian in The House of Tomorrow[18] in 2017. In 2018, Butterfield was cast in the main role of Otis Milburn on the Netflix comedy-drama series Sex Education.[19] The series was released on 11 January 2019 to critical acclaim.[20] The second season was released on 17 January 2020 and the third on 17 September 2021.

Other ventures[edit]

Butterfield enjoys making and producing music, and released a mashup of the songs "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus and "Making Plans for Nigel" by XTC.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24] In October 2020, he was signed by Team Liquid.[25]

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.[26] In 2018, students appeared as extras in the film Greed in which Butterfield appeared.[27][28]



Not yet released Denotes works that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
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
2011 Hugo Hugo Cabret
2013 Ender's Game Ender Wiggin
2014[29] X+Y[30] Nathan Ellis Also known as A Brilliant Young Mind[31]
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
Time Freak Stillman
Slaughterhouse Rulez Willoughby Blake
2019 Greed Finn McCreadie
2022 Choose or Die[32][33] Isaac
Flux Gourmet[34] Billy Rubin
Your Christmas or Mine? James
TBA All Fun and Games Not yet released TBA Filming[35]


Year Title Role Notes
2006 After Thomas Andrew Television film
2008 Ashes to Ashes Donny Episode: "Episode 6" (season 1)
2008–09 Merlin Mordred 3 episodes
2017 Thunderbirds Are Go[36] Space Controller Conrad (voice) 1 episode
2019–present Sex Education[19] Otis Milburn Main role
2020 50 States of Fright Brandon Boyd 3 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2008 British Independent Film Awards Most Promising Newcomer The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Nominated [37][38]
2009 NSPCC Awards Young British Performer of the Year The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Nominated [39]
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in an International Feature Film – Leading Young Performers The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Nominated
2012 Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Young Performer Hugo Nominated [40]
Empire Awards Best Male Newcomer Hugo Nominated [41]
Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor Hugo Nominated [42]
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Hugo Nominated [43]
Young Hollywood Awards Breakthrough Performance – Male Hugo Won [44]
2013 Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Young Performer Ender's Game Nominated [45]
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Youth Performance Ender's Game Nominated
2014 British Independent Film Awards Best Actor X+Y Nominated [46]
Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor Ender's Game Nominated [47]
2015 National Film Awards Best Actor X+Y Nominated
2017 Teen Choice Awards Choice Fantasy Movie Actor Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Nominated [48]
Choice Sci-Fi Movie Actor The Space Between Us Nominated [49]
2020 Newport Beach Film Festival Artist of Distinction Sex Education Won
NME Awards Best TV Actor Nominated [50]
2022 National Comedy Awards Outstanding Comedy Actor Sex Education Won
British Independent Film Awards Best Ensemble Flux Gourmet Pending


  1. ^ Journal, The Gentleman's. "Asa Butterfield has learnt his lessons | Gentleman's Journal". The Gentleman's Journal. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  2. ^ "ENDER'S GAME – Trailer Announcement & Preview". 2 May 2013. Archived from the original on 30 October 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2017 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ "Asa Butterfield Talks Hugo – Young Hollywood Awards 2012". 9 June 2013. Archived from the original on 30 October 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2017 – via YouTube.
  4. ^ a b "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Production Notes". Miramax Films. 2008. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  5. ^ Clarke, Cath (22 July 2010). "Act your age: the new wave of high-powered child stars". The Guardian. London, UK.
  6. ^ Lamont, Tom (28 December 2019). "Sex Education's Asa Butterfield: 'I feel more confident talking about sex'". The Guardian.
  7. ^ a b "Star Interview: Asa Butterfield". Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – Casting the characters". Last Broadcast. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Maher, Kevin (30 August 2008). "Meet the child stars of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas". The Times. London, UK. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  12. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (6 March 2013). "Asa Butterfield and Rafe Spall circle Origin Pictures' X + Y". Screen Daily. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Festival – What's On – September 5". Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  14. ^ Bailey, Cameron. "X+Y (programme note)". Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Profile: X+Y (film)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  16. ^ McNary, Dave (10 January 2014). "Ethan Hawke, Asa Butterfield Join 'Ten Thousand Saints'". Variety. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  17. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (6 February 2015). "Samuel L. Jackson To Star in Tim Burton's 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children'". Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  18. ^ "The House of Tomorrow". San Francisco Film Society. Archived from the original on 18 March 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  19. ^ a b White, Peter (17 May 2018). "Gillian Anderson & Asa Butterfield Join Netflix Dramedy 'Sex Education'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Sex Education: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  21. ^ Kraemer, Kristen (23 November 2011). "8 Things To Know About Hugo's Asa Butterfield!". Alloy Media, LLC. Los Angeles, California. Archived from the original on 10 July 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  22. ^ "Racing Blind – find out all about it". Sam Butterfield. 2012. Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  23. ^ "The Nintendo World Championships 2017 winner has been crowned!". Archived from the original on 23 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Sex Education star Asa Butterfield joins Panda Global to compete in Genesis 6". Dot Esports. 2 February 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  25. ^ Linhares, Nádia (7 October 2020). "Asa Butterfield from Netflix's Sex Education signs with Team Liquid". Dot Esports. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  26. ^ "Asa Butterfield 2020 3 Day Acting Masterclass in London". The Reel Scene.
  27. ^ DeFore, John (8 September 2019). "'Greed': Film Review | TIFF 2019". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  28. ^ Greed, retrieved 20 September 2021
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "X Plus Y announces cast". BBC. 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 2 September 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  31. ^ "Toronto International Film Festival 2013". Bankside Films. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  32. ^ Barraclough, Leo (8 July 2021). "Netflix Picks Up Worldwide Rights to Horror Film Curs>r, Starring Asa Butterfield". Variety. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  33. ^ Navarro, Meagan (3 February 2022). "Netflix Asks You to 'Choose or Die' With Robert Englund This April". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  34. ^ Lang, Brent (8 July 2021). "IFC Films, Bankside Films Backing Peter Strickland's Flux Gourmet Starring Asa Butterfield, Gwendoline Christie (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  35. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (7 April 2022). "'All Fun And Games': Asa Butterfield & Natalia Dyer Horror Exec-Produced By The Russo Brothers Begins Shoot, Adds Cast & Inks Pre-Sales Around The World For Anton". Deadline. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  36. ^ "News". Thunderbirds Are Go.
  37. ^ "Hunger dominates nominations for British Independent Film Awards". Metro (British newspaper). 28 October 2008. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  38. ^ Foley, Jack. "British Independent Film Awards 2008: Nominations in full". Indie London. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  39. ^ "London critics pick Slumdog". Variety. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  40. ^ "17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards (2012)". Critics' Choice. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  41. ^ "Tom Hiddlestone (Thor) | Best Male Newcomer | Jameson Empire Awards 2012". Empire (film magazine). Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  42. ^ Goldberg, Matt (29 February 2012). "Saturn Award Nominations Announced; HUGO and HARRY POTTER Lead with 10 Nominations Each". Collider. Archived from the original on 15 November 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  43. ^ "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards". Young Artist Awards. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  44. ^ "2012 Young Hollywood Awards Winners". PopSugar. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  45. ^ "Critic's Choice Awards 2014:Complete List of Nominations". E!. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  46. ^ "The Moet British Independent Film Awards Asa Butterfield BIFA Nominations and Awards". BIFA. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  47. ^ 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.
  48. ^ Ceron, Ella (19 June 2017). "Teen Choice Awards 2017: See the First Wave of Nominations". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  49. ^ Lupo, Marc (13 August 2017). "Teen Choice Awards 2017: All the Nominees and Winners". Us Weekly. American Media, Inc. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  50. ^ Trendell, Andrew (20 January 2020). "NME Awards 2020:Full list of nominations revealed". NME. Retrieved 31 March 2021.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]