Asa Butterfield & Jack Scanlon The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas DVD Interview

Asa Butterfield & Jack Scanlon The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas DVD Interview

Asa Butterfield and Jack Scanlon The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas DVD Interview

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis
Director: Mark Herman
Genre: Drama, War, Thriller
Rated: PG
Running Time: 94 minutes

Set during World War II, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.

Interview with Asa Butterfield

Question: Why did you want to act?

Asa Butterfield: I didn't really want to, but I just got into acting when I was seven and I joined an acting club, The Young Actors Theatre in Islington which I go to every Friday after school.

Question: Was there a special reason then why you started acting?

Asa Butterfield: I don't know, but my older brother - he is 15 - acts, but he is not very good. He did something called One Word in which he had one word and some other things.

Question: Is he pleased for you having this success by starring in a film?

Asa Butterfield: I don't really know. I think he is a bit jealous. He has seen the film and he said that he couldn't really get into it because he kept seeing me, not the character.

Question: What did you think when you saw the film for the first time?

Asa Butterfield: I thought it was good. I just liked seeing it all put together. I knew that when they make a film that they don't always start filming at the beginning and finish at the end. But they sort of did this in chronological order because they started with the third scene.

Question: What were the hardest scenes for you to do in The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas?

Asa Butterfield: Probably when I was in the concentration camp towards the end of the film. It was weird because it was not like any of the other scenes in the film. All of the other scenes for me were usually in the house or playing outside. Here it was really hot and it was crowded with all the extras who played the concentration camp prisoners. That made it even scarier.

Question: How did you get the part of Bruno in The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas?

Asa Butterfield: I did a lot auditions, about 10 of them. But after about six auditions I thought and there were only about 10 other boys left, I thought I had a pretty good chance of getting the part. At the same time I was also auditioning for another film, Mr Nobody. And I got that too, but I chose to do The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.

Question: What made you decide to do The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and not the other film?

Asa Butterfield: It meant I had more time away from school! And I thought it would be a better film.

Question: Had you been aware of the book The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas?

Asa Butterfield: No. Not until after I started to go to the auditions. After my second audition I got the book and started to read it but I did not finish it. I read about 20 pages. I wanted to finish it but by that time I had got the film script and the book was slightly different from the film script. In the book Bruno has his hair shaved off but that doesn't happen in the film.

Question: How was it working with the actors who play your film family in The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas?

Asa Butterfield: They were all really nice....I was sort of nervous on the first day of filming when I filmed the scene in the car when the family leaves their home in Berlin.

Question: When did you start to relax and think you could handle the role?

Asa Butterfield: After about a week.

Question: When you were out in Budapest filming The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas did you ever get homesick?

Asa Butterfield: Yes I did. My mum and dad were out there but I was away from home for about three months. I missed my brother and my cats, Leo and Missy, and of course I missed my friends. But I did stay in touch a little bit with email and phone calls. And I did not think the food in Hungary was very nice. But they are pretty good at desserts; there was a melted chocolate dish that I liked.

Question: Did you have time for any tourist trips round Budapest during breaks from filming?

Asa Butterfield: Yes, we went to the island in the river and on a chair left around Buda and Pest and went to an art gallery. We also went to a theme park and visited a really nice spa with boiling water.

Question: What had you known about World War II?

Asa Butterfield: I knew a little bit about the Holocaust and concentration camps and Hitler but I knew more about it after making the film.

Question: Do you think it would be a good idea to show The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas to schools?

Asa Butterfield: Yes I think it would be a really educational film. There are many films bout the Holocaust but this is through the eyes of an eight year old boy.

Question: What have your school friends said about the fact that you are in a movie?

Asa Butterfield: They have not really talked about it much.

Question: What are your favourite subjects at school?

Asa Butterfield: I like rugby, I play wing or scrum half and I enjoy drama and music. I play a little bit of drums and piano.

Question: So would you like to be in a rock band?

Asa Butterfield: Not particularly. I don't like rock. But I did a track with Professor Green, the rapper. I actually prefer jazz and funk to rock.

Question: Would you like to make acting your career?

Asa Butterfield: No. I really don't know what I would like to do. With acting you have to do 20 takes of every scene. You get tired of that.

Question: You have been busy since you finished filming The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas?

Asa Butterfield: I did Wolf Man a film that is a remake of the old horror film. It stars Anthony Hopkins and Benicio del Toro. I am seen in a flashback as the brother of the werewolf. I saw the original Wolf Man movie, which was not very scary because it did not have CGI. I do like horror films and Van Helsing is a favourite. Since The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, I also did an episode of Ashes To Ashes and I am in Merlin as a young Druid with a secret. Most of Merlin was filmed in France and the rest in Cardiff.

Question: How did you get started in acting?

Asa Butterfield: I went to the Young Actors Theatre in Islington and decided it was fun.

Question: What did you have to do for your auditions for The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas?

Asa Butterfield: I had an awful lot of them. I thought they were never going to end but after the sixth audition I had a pretty good idea that I had a chance of getting the part.

Question: When did you meet up with Jack Scanlon who plays Shmuel?

Asa Butterfield: It was at the sixth or seventh audition. We got on well right from the start.

Question: The film deals with a very upsetting period in history, so was it an upsetting film to make?

Asa Butterfield: Yes. It was all hard. When I did the scene towards the end I realised that this actually happened to people. That made it very sad.

Question: What did you have to do for your auditions for The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas?

Asa Butterfield: I did a number of things. I did four auditions. For the first one there was a video camera set up and after that I got called back. Then I met with an acting coach who gave me some tips. For the third audition I went through lines with other boys.

Question: Were you able to enjoy yourself when you were not filming?

Asa Butterfield: On the set we were disciplined but we had a laugh at the hotel. It was great fun. We played around with the elevators and moved shoes outside rooms to different floors. Once I caught my head in the doors of the elevator. That was a bit scary. The theme park in the city was fun.

Question: You filmed in Budapest, what was it like being out there?

Asa Butterfield: It was hot but it was good to go into the swimming pool. The whole city is really nice. I liked the zoo and the theme park and the spa.

Question: How did you feel when you got the part of Bruno?

Asa Butterfield: My mum called me at my dad's home. I did not scream but I was really excited. I said to my mum to tell the director Mark Herman that I was going to work really, really hard for him.

Question: What do your friends think of you being in a film?

Asa Butterfield: They don't really talk about it.

Question: What do you like best about school?

Asa Butterfield: I have just moved to a new school. I like that I have more freedom.

Question: How did you spend the summer holidays?

Asa Butterfield: We went to Spain to the Pyrenees and did water sports like white water rafting.

Question: You had a tutor during filming. How was that?

Asa Butterfield: She was nice but it was sort annoying to have to do school work every day.

Question: How long have you been going to the Young Actors Theatre?

Asa Butterfield: Three years and it has got more fun.

Question: What do you enjoy about acting?

Asa Butterfield: Being on camera, meeting new people, and learning things.

Question: For The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas you had to learn about the Holocaust?

Asa Butterfield: I already knew a bit about the Holocaust. I talked a lot about the script at home.

Question: When you saw the film how did you react?

Asa Butterfield: I cried at the end. Mum cried every time she saw the film.

Question: Are you and Jack Scanlon, who plays Shmuel, friends?

Asa Butterfield: Yes. We got on well. I am also friends with Amber Beattie who played my sister Gretel in the film. She lives nearby and goes to my new school.

Question: You were on XFM's Rock School?

Asa Butterfield: I did this little track and entered it in the competition and won a guitar. But I sold it because my instruments are drums and the piano.

Question: Do you want to be in showbiz when you grow up?

Asa Butterfield: I think it is too early to decide. But I'm enjoying this just now.

Interview with Jack Scanlon

Question: Were you able to enjoy yourself when you were not filming?

Jack Scanlon: Yes because we had a very posh hotel with a spa and swimming pool. We had fun ringing the bells at the doors of hotel rooms and running away. We also nicked the chocolate wafers that the maids put on the pillows.

Question: You filmed in Budapest, what was it like being out there?

Jack Scanlon: For the first week or so I couldn't bear the heat but after that I got used to it. I loved the hotel. The theme park was great; from the rollercoaster you could see the motorway on the other side of the park. I must have gone on the rollercoaster 30 times. I never got sick because I made sure I did not eat beforehand.

Question: What did you do when you felt home sick?

Jack Scanlon: I never got home sick because all my family were in Budapest.

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