Asa Butterfield mastered zero gravity to star in ‘Ender’s Game’
By CINDY PEARLMAN
“I’m like any other 16-year-old guy,” says Asa Butterfield of “Ender’s Game.” | KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES
LOS ANGELES — He has piercing blue eyes that are the color of a warm spring day. His suit is banker’s gray with a perfectly pressed, serious navy blue shirt underneath.
All the grown-up movie-star goods end there.
At age 16, the actor who is now Ender Wiggin on the big screen looks and acts much younger.
“I was pretty nervous meeting Harrison Ford for the first time,” says the soft-spoken Brit, a bit flustered. “Can you correct that and write definitely nervous?”
No problem, kid.
In fact, after what’s projected to be a stellar box-office weekend for “Ender’s Game,” there are going to be some people nervous about meeting Asa Butterfield.
In “Ender’s Game,” he’s a young man who grew up on video games and now is Earth’s chance to lead a fight against alien invaders. Ford plays the military honcho who teaches him the ropes.
After an exhaustive worldwide search for Ender, he got the role thanks to Skype. “I got the script in the summer of 2011 and I wanted to be Ender. Who wouldn’t want to fly around in zero G shooting laser guns and saving the planet?
“Eventually, I Skyped with director Gavin Hood to talk about the role and my view of it. It was really interesting for an adult to have that kind of conversation with a kid,” says Butterfield, who after a trip to L.A. had the coveted part.
He was soon off to space camp with the other teens in the movie who make up Ender’s troops. “It was like military camp. We learned how to march and salute,” he says. “It was lights out at 9 and up at dawn.”
Even better was being harnessed and then floating around a soundstage for the scenes where Ender floats around in zero gravity. “At first, I was like a flapping duck up there,” he says with a laugh. “But our stunt coordinator was from Cirque du Soleil, so I learned the moves.”
He has felt the pressure of helming a major movie in the past. The London native began acting at age 8 and so far has starred in Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” plus “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” and “The Wolfman.”
“What really keeps me focused is living in London,” he says. “Because when I’m not acting, I’m like any other 16-year-old guy. I play football, listen to music and hang out with my mates. I’m not exactly saving the planet.”
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