How Asa Butterfield Embraced Weirdness with Ella Purnell in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Asa Butterfield Stars in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Stepping onto the set of a Tim Burton-directed adaption of a bestselling book brings more than the usual first-day-of-work jitters. “Fear, exciting, anticipation,” says Ella Purnell of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” Adds  Asa Butterfield: “At the start we all felt a bit of pressure. You’re always kind of nervous.”

“You want to get it right,” says Purnell.

“And you want to do it justice,” says Butterfield.

And that’s where Burton comes in. Speaking to Made in Hollywood reporter Kylie Erica Mar, the young actors say the director brought not only his famed quirky vision but an easy rapport with the cast.

“Tim’s so good at making you feel so relaxed and get all of that pressure and all of those feelings — which probably aren’t really healthy — to the film,” says Butterfield. “He just really brings the best out of you.”

Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell Recall Underwater Scene in Miss Peregrine’s

Even when the circumstances are, well, peculiar.

Butterfield, who plays the Florida boy named Jake who stumbles into the island home of strange children with strange powers caught in a 1943 time warp, recalls an underwater scene with Purnell, who plays a girl who has a tendency to literally float away.

Shot in Burton’s luxurious strangeness, Purnell admits the scene in real life “wasn’t that glam. More like drowning fish.”

“Drowning fish?” Butterfield pokes back.

“You know, like the opposite, when they’re like not on water,” says Purnell. “Anyway, it was very physically demanding, and we did two days of training before we actually got in the water. But it was really good fun, actually. That was the best week of filming.”

Asa Butterfield on Weirdness in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

As comfortable as Burton made them feel, the actors couldn’t help but get swept up into author Ransom Riggs’ world of children who are invisible and can make dolls come to life, all living under the watchful eye of Eva Green‘s Miss Peregrine, who can change into a bird.

“It’s quite complex,” says Butterfield. “These children who’ve all grown up with these weird, kind of quirky abilities, they all consider it normal. In their lives and their families’ this is the normality. That’s what’s great about it, because Jake comes into this home thinking he’s totally ordinary and doesn’t have anything to offer, and he realizes he’s just like everyone else, and everyone’s got this weirdness to them. That’s what they need to embrace.”