EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Asa Butterfield Discusses Martin Scorsese's HUGO & ENDER'S GAME Adaption

The young actor shares details about the casting process for Summit Entertainment's upcoming film Ender's Game and his first lead role opposite Chloe Moretz and Sir Ben Kingsly in Hugo, which will be released November 23rd, 2011.


Hugo tells the story of an orphan boy living a secret life in the walls of a Paris train station. With the help of an eccentric girl, he searches for the answer to a mystery linking the father he recently lost, the ill-tempered toy shop owner living below him and a heart shaped lock, seemingly without a key. Based on Brian Selznick’s award winning and imaginative New York Times bestseller, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, this magical tale is Academy Award-winner Martin Scorsese’s first film shot in 3D.

Asa Butterfield was chosen to bring to life the character Hugo Cabret in director Martin Scorsese's first foray into 3D film making. Though he's been acting since the age of 8 in television and films such as Nanny McPhee Returns and The Wolfman, Hugo is his first headlining role; and one he was more than willing to tackle. "I was very excited to be chosen... It was a daunting possibility, I wasn't familiar with [director] Marty Scorsese by name but I've seen his films Shutter Island and The Departed."


During the film's press conference, the cast revealed that Scorsese became known for giving out "homework" in the form of old films -- particularly those of film maker Georges Méliès (who is a central character in Hugo) and Akira Kurosawa -- and Asa took to this research with fervor. "For an actor to work with a director who wants to teach you his methods.. his inspirations, as much as he wants to guide you, it's a life changing experience. One day I hope to direct and I know I'll look back on my days with [Martin] as foundation for that."

Asa has now been named as Summit Entertainment's choice to portray Ender Wiggin in the upcoming adaptation of the multiple award winning sci-fi novel Ender's Game. Though he says "nothing is confirmed yet" and that he is "still in negotiations" he did reveal that the studio looked far and wide for the right actor to play the title role. "It's not an easy part to cast for, [Ender] is so young, and the role is physically demanding for a 7 or 8 year old. I heard they looked at dozens of actors... a wide [age] range."

Regardless what comes next for the young actor, and it's fairly obvious great things will continue to be on his horizon, Asa will fondly remember his time filming Hugo: "To have the opportunity to work with proven talent like Sir Ben [Kingsly], Chloe and Jude [Law] made it a very memorable experience. We worked on the film for such a long time.. close to eight months on set. We became very close."

Hugo stars Asa Butterfield, Sir Ben Kingsly, Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone, Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths. The film was shot in 3D and will be released November 23rd, 2011.


Pietro Filipponi  |  Managing Editor

Pietro Filipponi's picture

Just want to say that HUGO is the best film I've seen this year so far. It's so wonderful on so many levels, hard to describe. Simply beautiful from beginning to end.


Upupandaway's picture
Pietro Filipponi wrote:

Just want to say that HUGO is the best film I've seen this year so far. It's so wonderful on so many levels, hard to describe. Simply beautiful from beginning to end.

That's excellent to hear! I was torn between this and The Muppets for the Thanksgiving Holiday and I think I've fallen for this one.


fanboiii's picture

I didn't have much interest in this movie at first. I thought it was some twist on Hunchback of Notre Dame, haha. After seeing Scorsese's interview on the Daily Show, I'm all in. Sounds remarkable.

Zoe Gulliksen

Zoe Gulliksen's picture

It was hans down beautiful.