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Bam! Pow! Zap! Asa Butterfield of 'Ender's Game' on Sci-fi and Space Camp, and Why Angeline Jolie Just HAD to Be Maleficent

Beginning of the Ender

Even before he was cast in the coveted role of Ender Wiggin, the young hero of novelist Orson Scott Card’s beloved 1985 classic Ender’s Game, 16-year-old Asa Butterfield admits he was an unabashed science fiction fan.

“One of the things I really like about sci-fi is how a lot of the time the technology that is shown in the film is coming,” says Butterfield. “Of course it's very advanced and it's often set in the future – but when you find out that these things are being developed... One of the things which quite excites me: how you look at it and think, 'Wow, my kids or grandkids may have this sort of technology.'”

Butterfield’s personal sci-fi tastes also skew heavily toward allegorical elements over eye-popping spectacle – and Ender’s Game has no shortage of either. “I do think there aren't many science fiction films that have this much depth and character development,” he says. “This is definitely a film that you can see with your family, and afterwards it does really stay with you. You can have important conversations and discussions about the film, whether it's with your kid or with your parents or with just your friends. People get completely different things out of it.”

The actor got a genuine taste of high-tech space travel when he attended Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, which proved useful in creating camaraderie among the young cast members playing Ender’s fellow Command School students.

“One of the biggest parts about Space Camp was the ice-breaking experience,” he says. “It was the first time as a younger cast that we had ever met each other. By the end of it we were such good friends, it allowed us to carry that over into the film – even though some of our characters aren't exactly close. At Space Camp we learned how to march and salute, all the stuff you'd learn at military camp. It gives you a sense of what fears kids were going through."

image: JustJared

Evil Woman: Why Angelina Jolie Just HAD to Be Maleficent

When it came to embodying the sinisterly sexy fairy tale villainess of Disney’s 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty, Robert Stromberg, director of next May's live-action follow-up Maleficent, understands why star Angelina Jolie was drawn to play the self-proclaimed Mistress of All Evil.

“Angelina herself has in many ways, as she would put it, sort of this deliciously sexy edge, and I think for its time, that character had an edge to it that stood out,” says Stromberg, an acclaimed art director (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Oz the Great and Powerful) making his debut behind the camera. “And I think that's why Maleficent has become the most iconic evil villain, even though it was in the '50s.”

One of the famous Jolie-Pitt brood, youngest daughter Vivienne, five, joined her mom on set to playSleeping Beauty heroine Princess Aurora as a child. “It was really fun just to see Angelina's face light up with Vivienne there,” says Stromberg, who remembers how the mother-daughter bond eclipsed the effect of Jolie’s fearsome Maleficent makeup. “It was great because most of the other kids that would show up on the set would be afraid of her, whereas Vivienne was playing with the horns and it was no big deal because ‘That's just my mom.’”

 

 

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