Apr. 1st, 1997
Islington, London, UK
Asa Butterfield's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2010 - Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang
2010 - The Wolfman
2008 - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
2007 - Son of Rambow
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield (born April 1, 1997) is an 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.
Butterfield was born in Islington, London, the son of Jacqueline Farr and Sam Butterfield. He has an older brother, Morgan, who is a drummer for the English bands Oats and Underneath the Tallest Tree, and two younger sisters, Loxie and Marlie. Asa has said that he is just as happy reading a book as playing computer games and tries not to let his acting dominate his whole life.
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 assistance of Morgana, assist 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.
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.