At eleven years old, Asa Butterfield entered the movie scene when he starred in the critically acclaimed adaption of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008). This strong performance led to more leads in films like including Nanny McPhee Returns (2010), Hugo (2011), Ender’s Game (2013), and most recently, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016). He’s what I call, an understated star. From watching his interviews I get the vibe that he is far beyond his years but seems quite down to earth and removed from the Hollywood scene (literally and figuratively as he lives in London). I was honored to get to interview this truly talented actor as he gears up for his latest film unlike any of his previous work, The Space Between Us.
How does The Space Between Us differ from other “space films” that have been out?
Even though it’s set in space, it’s a very small scale story. The things these characters are dealing with are every day problems. Figuring out who you are and trying to feel that you have a place on the earth and the backdrop of Mars and space is an interesting technique.
How did you get in the mindset of playing a young man from Mars coming to earth because that’s not really a role that’s been done before?
It’s not a role that’s been done before and that’s one of the things I loved about it, that allowed me to try something new and create this character who was likable and sweet kind of innocent. You can have a lot of fun with it and be funny. I had a lot freedom creatively to really bring this character to life and that’s always a lot of fun as an actor.
That’s awesome, so what initially attracted you to the project in the first place?
It was the character, I think. How interesting he was, having these opportunities to find someone who’s never been to earth before, and to take everything in for the first time. As you said, it’s never been done before, at least not like this. Not from a teenager’s perspective. So that’s what I loved about the story.
This is very cliché….but what is your favorite thing about earth?
My favorite thing about earth is…..well one of my favorite things is probably the night’s sky, when you get a really clear night and you’re not in the city and you can see everything and you can see the stars and see the Milky Way. That always blows my mind, honestly.
You were in Ender’s Game (2013) which is also set in space at least partially, how did was it different filming this one as opposed to The Space Between Us?
Well Ender’s Game was very much the balance of the space element and that was a key part of the story was that these kids go to space and learn to fight and deal with aliens and in this film he goes from the space element and then it shrinks down to this small environment so it’s almost like the reverse.
Would you live on Mars if given a choice?
No, I wouldn’t. I like the idea of no gravity but Mars is too cold and dead…and red. It’s not very exciting. Maybe for a week but you’d get bored very quickly and then you’d have to make that five year journey just to come back and it’s not really worth it.
Where did you film for the Mars scenes?
We were shooting in Albuquerque for pretty much the whole shoot in some quarries and the desert and using color correction we made it look like a landscape.
The Space Between Us opens Friday, February 3rd in theaters everywhere.