From writer/director Peter Livolsi, the indie dramedy The House of Tomorrow follows sheltered 16-year-old Sebastian (Asa Butterfield), who was raised inside a geodesic dome. When a stroke sidelines the grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) that he lives with, Sebastian starts sneaking out to spend time with Jared (Alex Wolff), a chain-smoking punk music obsessed teen with a heart transplant who he met on a guided tour of their home. Soon, the two have a band and a real friendship, and Sebastian must decide if he wants to carry on with the teachings of futurist Buckminster Fuller for his grandmother or if he wants to choose his own next step in life.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Asa Butterfield talked about why he wanted to play this character, what most struck him about this story and the work of Buckminster Fuller, who is actually a real person, what it was like to be in the dome, the immediate friendship he had with Alex Wolff, and how much fun he had getting to learn the bass and play live for this film. He also talked about working with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on the horror comedy Slaughterhouse Rulez, enjoying his time off, and what he looks for in a project.
Collider: When this came your way, you’ve said you were you were asked to consider both Sebastian and Jared, to see which character you leaned more toward. What was it about Sebastian that ultimately pulled you more in his direction?
ASA BUTTERFIELD: I don’t know. It was a mixture of things. I knew that the Jared character would need be someone who was incredible confident in music, and punk music in particular. I am a musician, I play the piano, and I love music, but I loved Sebastian’s journey and his rebellion through music and the discovery of it. I thought that was a really sweet story. Me and Alex both were in the same situation, where we naturally leant toward each character. It was great.
This is a coming of age story, which we’ve seen a lot of, but one that feels very unique and different. When you did finally read the full script, and you learned about this kid who was living in a dome with his grandmother, what most struck you about the story?
BUTTERFIELD: That’s a good question. All of these characters have their own voice, and they’re unique and different. Jared has this pain inside of him that he’s deflecting through confidence. And then, Meredith is trying to juggle all of these things and keep her family together while she’s a teenage girl. I just thought it was an amazing ensemble.