To his credit, Butterfield, who was recently cast as the lead in the sci-fi epic Ender’s Game, recognizes the unique nature of his position. “Being an actor does give me the opportunity to do and see things I wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” he concedes. “Come to think of it, I’m like Hugo.” That would be Hugo Cabret, the orphan Butterfield plays in Scorsese’s film. He secretly lives in the walls of a Paris train station, emerging only to get tangled up in a grand romp with costars Ben Kingsley and Chloë Mortez. Working with Marty—known for his ability to handpick pint-sized actors destined to become full-fledged stars (Jodie Foster, Juliette Lewis)—bodes well for Butterfield. Though still young, the cobalt-eyed comer is looking forward to “playing characters that have a bit more world experience. If anyone wants to make Young Bond,” he says. “I’m your guy.”
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How was Scorsese as a director? Marty really is an amazing director. I know that’s an obvious thing to say but the way he set up shots and the detail that he attends to is quite something. I could see that early on when watching bits of playback in his tent. And now I’ve seen the film I can see how that attention to detail has really paid off – it’s so beautiful. He’s not a director that tells you to do it in a particular way, instead he suggests different ways and he was always so encouraging. This lets you come up with your own ideas of how to play the scene and that in turn affects the other actors performances. The other thing I’ve come away with is a real appreciation of film. All through shooting, he’d suggest films for me to watch. I’m now really in to Kurosawa, and before I met Marty I’d never heard of him. Marty also shared with me some of the early films he enjoyed as a boy and young man, I’ve got to see some of them now and can see what inspired him to be the great film maker that he is.
Asa Butterfield on Hugo, Bonding with Chloe Moretz, and His Dream Role
When I speak to Asa Butterfield later today, how am I supposed to contain my jealousy that, at the age of fourteen, he got to star in a Scorsese film? How?