Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield (born 1 April 1997 in Islington, England) is an English actor probably best known for portraying Bruno in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, the eponymous hero of Hugo, and Ender Wiggin in the film adaptation of Ender's Game.
He began acting at age 8 after he was spotted by a casting director at a local drama club, and soon did the Made-for-TV Movie After Thomas. From there he had a supporting role in Son of Rambow before doing an episode of Ashes to Ashes (2008) in 2008. In the same year he won the recurring role of the infamous Mordred in The BBC's Merlin — a role not dissimilar to his successful performance in Rambow, possibly why he was cast. Released around the same time was the film adaptation of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, in which he starred.
Asa was still attending regular school like any other boy - he still, as of spring 2014, is doing his A-levels at a state school - and would put his career on temporary hold from the Autumn of 2008, when he began secondary school, with a supporting role in The Wolfman followed by the lead in the sequel to Nanny McPhee released in 2010. In these films he played alongside people like Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, and his own real stardom began. Following this he got the lead in Martin Scorsese's adaptation Hugo, leading the renowned cast comprising Sir Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Chloë Moretz.
Returning in yet another book adaptation, Ender's Game was filmed during his final year of high school, suggesting that he now considers his acting career a priority over his education. Asa plays the titular Ender Wiggin in one of the most anticipated films of 2013, again heading up the All-Star Cast, including Sci-Fi veteran Harrison Ford.
- Brethren Boy in Son of Rambow (2007)
- Bruno in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)
- Mordred in Merlin
- Younger Ben Talbot in The Wolfman (2010)
- Norman Green in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010)
- Hugo Cabret in Hugo (2011)
- Ender Wiggin in Ender's Game (2013)
- Jacob Portman in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
- Otis Milburn in Sex Education (2019)
- Calvin Lewis in Then Came You (2019)
Tropes applied to his works:
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Especially in The Boy In The Striped Pajamas and Hugo, and Merlin, whereas in Ender's Game, they're more like Icy Blue Eyes.
- Fake Nationality: Frequently. He has played a German in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, a Frenchman in Hugo and an American in Ender's Game, all before his fifteenth birthday.note
- The Film of the Book: Most of his roles are within these.
- Typecasting: Waifish, precocious boys in science fiction and fantasy.
- What Could Have Been: He was Marvel and Sony's first choice for the role of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but lost out on it because he thought he couldn't keep Marvel's secrets — which is rather interesting, as Tom Holland has said himself Marvel has stopped telling him secrets since he's revealed a bunch in interviews.