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Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield (born 1. April 1997) is an English actor. He began his acting career at the age of 9 in the television drama After Thomas (2006) and the comedy film Son of Rambow (2007). He became known for playing the main character Bruno in the Holocaust film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), for which he received nominations for the British Independent Film Award and the London Film Critics Circle Award for Young British Performer of the Year at the age of 11. He also played the young Mordred in the hit BBC TV Series Merlin (2008–2009) and Norman in the fantasy film Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010).

For his leading performance as Hugo Cabret in Martin Scorsese's drama Hugo (2011), Butterfield received considerable praise and was awarded the Young Hollywood Award for Breakthrough Performance - Male and was nominated for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer and the Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer, among other accolades. He is also known for portraying Ender Wiggin in the 2013 film adaptation of the science fiction novel Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. He was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor for playing Nathan Ellis in Morgan Matthews's X+Y (2014). He starred as Jacob "Jake" Portman in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016) and as Gardner Elliot, the protagonist in The Space Between Us (2017). He also played the leading role in The House of Tomorrow, which premiered at San Francisco International Film Festival 2017.

Early lifeEdit

Butterfield was born in Islington, London, and is the son of Jacqueline Farr and Sam Butterfield. He was born with the middle names "Maxwell Thornton", but now uses the middle name "Bopp" on his passport instead (after Comet Hale–Bopp).


Butterfield first started acting at the age of 7 on Friday afternoons after school at the Young Actors' Theatre Islington. Later, he secured minor roles in the 2006 television drama After Thomas and the 2007 film, Son of Rambow. In 2008, he 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 elected 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 help of Morgana, help 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 was recast, with Alexander Vlahos playing Mordred as an adult character.

In 2010, he had a small part in The Wolfman. He starred as Norman Green at the age of 12 in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010), working together with Emma Thompson. The film, and his performance, both received positive reviews. At the age of 13 he played the main and title character in Martin Scorsese's Hugo, adapted from the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Hugo was filmed from June 2010 to January 2011, it was released on 23 November 2011, and achieved critical and box-office success.

Butterfield played the title role of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin in the film adaptation of the Orson Scott Card novel Ender's Game, along with Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, and Harrison Ford. The film completed filming in the first half of 2012, and was released in 2013. After the shooting of Ender's Game, Butterfield was immediately cast in coming of age British drama, X+Y as Nathan Ellis, a mathematical savant on the autism spectrum selected to compete with other gifted children on a United Kingdom team in an internationally renowned mathematics competition. The film premiered on 5 September 2014 at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released in UK cinemas on 13 March 2015. Butterfield's performance received widespread critical acclaim, and saw him nominated for the BIFA Award for Best Actor.

Later in 2013, Butterfield was reported to be in talks for a role in King of Kastle and in May, he was cast in The White Circus with his fellow cast member from Hugo, Chloë Grace Moretz. In early 2014, Butterfield was cast in a film adaptation of Ten Thousand Saints. Shooting began on 27 January 2014 and the film was released on 14 August 2015.

In November 2015, he joined the ensemble cast of Shane Carruth's third film, The Modern Ocean, alongside Anne Hathaway, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Radcliffe, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tom Holland, Jeff Goldblum and Abraham Attah.

In 2016, he starred as Jacob "Jake" Portman in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, based on the novel of the same name, alongside Eva Green. He also starred as Gardner Elliot in the film The Space Between Us and as Sebastian in The House of Tomorrow in 2017.

Other workEdit

Butterfield enjoys making and producing music, and released a mashup of the songs "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus and "Making Plans For Nigel" by XTC in 2004. In late 2012, Butterfield co-designed a turn-based video game for iPad with his father and brother called Racing Blind. The game was released to the App Store on 7 April 2013.


Butterfield was nominated in the category "Most Promising Newcomer" of the 2008 British Independent Film Awards, but he lost the award to Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire. He was nominated for the NSPCC Award (Young British Performer of the Year) in the London Critics Circle Film Awards, which was ultimately won by Thomas Turgoose for his roles in Eden Lake and Somers Town. MTV Networks' named him one of the Breakout Stars to Watch for in 2011.



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Son of Rambow Brethren Boy
2008 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Bruno
2010 The Wolfman Younger Ben Talbot
Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang Norman Green
2011 Hugo Hugo Cabret
2013 Ender's Game Ender Wiggin
2014 X+Y Nathan Ellis also known as A Brilliant Young Mind
2015 Ten Thousand Saints Jude Keffy-Horn
2016 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Jacob "Jake" Portman
2017 The Space Between Us Gardner Elliot
The House of Tomorrow Sebastian
Journey's End Jimmy Raleigh
Time Freak Stillman Post-Production
2018 Departures Calvin Post-Production
Slaughterhouse Rulez Willoughby Blake Post-Production


Year Title Role Notes
2006 After Thomas Andrew Television film
2008 Ashes to Ashes Donny Episode #1.6
2008–09 Merlin Mordred 3 episodes
2017 Thunderbirds Are Go Space Controller Conrad 1 episode


Year Result Award Category Work
2008 Nominated British Independent Film Award Most Promising Newcomer The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
2009 NominatedNSPCC Award Young British Performer of the Year
2011 Won Las Vegas Film Critics Society Best Youth in Film Hugo
2012 Nominated Empire Awards] Best Male Newcomer
Nominated Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young Actor/Actress
Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor
Nominated Saturn AwardsBest Performance by a Younger Actor
2014 Nominated Saturn AwardsEnder's Game
2014NominatedBritish Independent Film AwardsBest Actor X+Y aka A Brilliant Young Mind

External LinksEdit