New Image From Ender's Game - And Asa Butterfield Speaks!

Exclusive interview with the future space warrior

This October, sci-fi spectacular Ender’s Game will see Asa Butterfield (The Artist Formerly Known As Hugo) step into the high-tech boots of Ender Wiggin, heading to a military space academy run by the gruff Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford). As well as intergalactic battles and tense politicking, the movie will feature plenty of zero-gravity combat as the youngsters at Battle School are put through their paces. We've just dug up a new image from the film that shows Graff and Ender together, and spoke to Butterfield about what it was like to take his feet off the ground…

Before the shoot, you and the rest of the young cast went to “Space Camp”. What did that involve?

That was our very first week. It really broke the ice between all of us kids — we were good friends by the end of it. And it also gave insight into how it would have been to gone to Battle School. We were taught to march, all about cadences, and did a bunch of army drills. Lights off at 9pm. Awake at 7am. Pretty brutal, but I’d do it again.

You spent a lot of the shoot dangling from wires for the zero-G sequences. Fun or painful?

It was really good fun. But yeah, wearing harnesses for nine hours, by the end of the day you’re glad to get out of them. It’s really tiring staying up there. And the chafing… it’s exactly as you might imagine. All through rehearsals we would spend an hour each day on the wires. And then we spent a month and a half shooting the scenes. There was plenty of time flying around.

During their training, Ender and his unit take on a lot of other teams in the Battle Room. Any stunts you’re particularly proud of pulling off?

There’s a really cool sequence where I’m sort of spinning over backwards and I let go of my guns. They’re floating by my side just going along. As I push myself through these two stars, I spin back over and grab the guns, then shoot the people around me. I loved doing that.

What did your Battle Room costume involve?

It’s called a flash suit. It looks incredible, but wearing it was pretty uncomfortable, because they were tight and thick and didn’t give you all that much movement. It’s like wearing three wetsuits and then putting on body armour over that. We had a few versions: a normal one, and then a slightly bigger one which let you wear a harness underneath. You wouldn’t want to wear one for more than an hour.

And finally, is it true you’ve designed an iPad app?

Yes. Me and my brother were on the set of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, and we got pretty bored so we came up with this game. We designed it with pen and paper at first. And then at the end of last year we realised it would make a really good iPad game. So we started to get it made. It’s called Racing Blind, and as far as I’m aware it’s the only game on the App Store that you can play with your eyes closed. My little sister, who’s three, is really good at it.

Ender's Game hits UK cinemas on October 25, also starring Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin and Viola Davis, and directed by Gavin Hood. For more on the film, check out a future issue of Empire.