Youth Impact Report 2012: Bigscreen Kids

Now 15, London-born Asa Butterfield was just 13 when he landed the title role in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning 3D adventure “Hugo,” and received a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for his performance.

“When I first read the script, I didn’t really know how big Marty was,” Butterfield admits. “Then people started telling me, I flew to New York to meet him and audition in front of him with Chloe Moretz, and then it all hit me like a smack in the face. Two days later, they told me I’d gotten the role.”

Butterfield says the nine-month shoot “really changed my view on acting and film as a whole, and really matured me as an actor. I learned so much from Marty about the history of cinema and directing and acting — it was like being paid to go to film school.”

The busy young thesp, whose credits include “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” and “The Wolfman,” has also had a recurring role on the BBC series “Merlin.” “But I can’t do it anymore, sadly, because they aged my character up,” he reports.

Butterfield followed “Hugo” with another highly coveted lead role, that of Ender in Summit’s upcoming “Ender’s Game.” “It’s the ideal part for a teenage boy, and the cast was amazing: Ben Kingsley, Abigail Breslin, Hallie Steinfeld and Harrison Ford,” he beams.

Currently juggling his career with the demands of school — “I’ve got exams to focus on for the next two years” — Butterfield is well aware that not everyone makes the transition from child to adult actor. “But that’s my goal, to keep making movies into my adult years,” he says.

Impact: Landed the title role in Martin Scorsese’s first (and only) family film, “Hugo.”
Next: Just wrapped production on “Ender’s Game.”
Causes: “I want to be involved with any conservation and animal causes.”

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