The need to belong is a universal emotion, says Asa Butterfield
For most of us, Asa Butterfield’s name brings back memories of his powerful and disturbing performance in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008). Last seen in as Jake Portman in Tim Burton’s dark fantasy film, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), the blue-eyed 19-year-old will now be seen in a romantic science fiction film, The Space Between Us, alongside Britt Robertson, Gary Oldman and Carla Gugino. Playing the son of an astronaut who has lived on Mars his whole life, the movie (distributed by PVR Pictures) traces what happens when he finds love online. Here, the Hugo actor speaks about his co-stars and connecting with his character.
Tell us a little about your character in the film.
Gardner lives his whole life in a space station in Mars, so everything he knows happens on Mars and the little information he has otherwise is gathered through doing different things and finding out about Earth, which is something he loves and craves. What’s interesting is that his experience of social interaction is so limited. He doesn’t read social cues, he doesn’t understand sarcasm. It comes across as funny in the film and it’s quite fun to play with those.
What is the one theme that you connected with the most through the course of the film?
I guess, the sense of belonging is something we all connect with. Belonging somewhere and feeling like you are worth something are important, something Gardner doesn’t feel at the beginning of the film. His whole motive, therefore, is about finding somewhere he belongs or he feels safe, and that’s something everyone needs and strives for.
What was it like to work with such an established cast?
This whole story revolves around Gardner’s and Tula’s (Britt Robertson) relationship and it’s interesting because they balance each other. Kendra (Carla Gugino), Gardner’s primary guardian, is also crucial to this story. We wanted to make sure the relationship is fun. Although she is his caretaker, a motherly figure even, they are like siblings. They have that banter and hardness which we wanted to capture, avoiding clichés. Gary Oldman is a phenomenal actor. He is very cool and funny and shares a great rapport with Peter (Chelsom, director). It just makes the whole environment light.
The Space Between Us releases today.