December 28, 2019
The former child star has won rave reviews for the hit Netflix show. So why does he feel ambivalent about acting?
Sex Educations Asa Butterfield: I feel more confident talking about sex
Ah, yes, says Asa Butterfield, the young star of the explicit and brilliant comedy of sex manners, Sex Education. Butterfield is recalling one of the stranger milestones of his acting career, “my first, big, on-camera wank. That was a fun day on set.” With a second series of the hit Netflix show due to debut online soon, the 21-year-old Londoner has come to a diner in King’s Cross to eat an oozing burger and talk with some pride about a show that first set the internet humming back in January 2019. Part hyperactive teen comedy and part public health broadcast, Sex Education, created by British/Australian screenwriter Laurie Nunn, turned out to be that rare cultural thing: a show that filled a hole we didn’t know was there.
“I think it did a great job of normalising young people’s fears, and quirks, and hang-ups around sex,” Butterfield says. He plays Sex Education’s central character, a preternaturally wise teenage boy called Otis, who takes it upon himself to advise his sixth-form peers on the intricacies of sexual contact and sexual politics. “When I first signed up, I knew it would be interesting, risky, that the scripts were treading new ground. I guess I hoped the show would be talked about a bit. But I didn’t expect it to connect so instantly, so overwhelmingly, with so many people.”
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