Early Thoughts on Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin

So I just watched Scorsese’s Hugo, a rather heart-warming tale with plenty of suspense and a great showcase for the precocious young actor Asa Butterfield. The movie itself was rather slow-paced and one member of our viewing party decided to leave early. If you decide to stick it out, prepare to exit with a bittersweet aftertaste and recommend it only to friends who emphasize higher diction and cinematography. It is not a normal children’s film, which is great, because it tells a story with absolute seriousness, treating its viewers as ones capable of complex thought and emotion rather than slapstick enthusiasts.

But Hugo aside, Asa Buttterfield’s performance was better than I expected. Some of his mannerisms were more adult than felt natural, but that is a quality that I feel will be beneficial in his Ender role. For example, in Hugo, there is a  scene where he throws a well-contained fit that devolves into tears. Rather than have him sink into a fetal position or hold his knees tightly like other small children, he splays himself over an armchair, holding his forehead while leaning on an elbow and gripping the other arm of the chair with his unoccupied hand. I almost expected to see a shotglass in that hand, the way he was postured.

It may be the director’s fault. Not once did Asa crumble into snotty tears, despite all his hardships. I think it was set on purpose to lead audience members into interpreting the character of Hugo as one on the cusp of adulthood, or one already pushed into maturity by the trials of orphanhood (what is the proper word?). I have no doubt that Asa can cry on queue. Or at least flare his nose a few times as if overwhelmed by strong emotions- which was convincing, the few times it happened.

Oh, his eyes. The Hugo movie had a very CSI-quality filter for blues and orange-golds that made his gaze dominate the screen. Cillian Murphy has that same feel. It almost approaches the level of sanpaku, a Japanese term for eyes that have a particularly light iris and specific white sclera to iris ratio.

As described in “The Deception of William Murphy”: http://jasonphillipsdesign.blogspot.com/2011/03/deception-of-william-murphy.html

Sanpaku, meaning “three whites” in Japanese (“san”=three, “paku”=white) describes the relation of the iris to the eyeball when a person is looking straight ahead where one can see “three white” parts on the sides and below the iris.

The Japanese theory states that someone with Sanpaku eyes is imbalanced and predestined to danger. 
A list of other people with Sanpaku eyes:
Abraham Lincoln (Assassinated at age 56)
John F. Kennedy (Assassinated at age 46)
Robert F. Kennedy (Assassinated at age 43)
John Lennon (Killed at age 40)
Marilyn Monroe (Died at age 36)
Heath Ledger (Died at age 28)
Based on stage presence alone, I am reasonably confident that Asa Butterfield can handle the Ender role. Now, if only the remaining cast and crew can step up to make sure that another great book doesn’t get “besmirched by Hollywood”.

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KT is an avid foodie/gamer/SFF reader with expertise in a variety of bizarre fields. Her love for technology, science, and internet media is only matched by her fondness for music, language and art. Karen is an aspiring writer with a meandering past. Her law and engineering books make wonderful counterweights to her fiction collections. She hopes to one day publish a novel, most likely in the young adult genre, but the future is an open book.

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