John Boyega is currently living his best life and having one heck of a year so far. The actor ended 2017 on a high note as being one of the leads in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which went on to be one of the year’s most popular films.
2018 is also shaping up to be a big year for Boyega as his starring role in the highly anticipated film Pacific Rim: Uprising is generating all kinds of buzz. Boyega took the time to chat with 4YE in the middle of his press tour for the blockbuster and before making his debut at Awesome Con this past weekend to talk to us about his history with the sci-fi film genre, his dreams as a kid, and how he’s become the go-to guy of sorts for action adventure films.
For Boyega, going to comic conventions was not something he grew up doing but something he’s recently gotten into as an actor. “I really didn’t know about them; I didn’t know where they were until I started getting into movies,” shared Boyega. Given that he mainly comes to a convention nowadays to work, Boyega isn’t opposed to attending one as a fan and even has a cosplay in mind. “I’d probably be a character from Naruto,” Boyega revealed.
Cosplaying aside, Boyega isn’t surprised that he’s become so involved in the sci-fi genre, with two major sci-fi blockbusters under his belt so far. Given that he’s played not one but two iconic characters in that film genre, Boyega is quite excited to see one of his childhood dreams come to fruition. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of the sci-fi genre. Also, at the same time, I thought that if I wanted to be in a film, I always wanted to enjoy it and be a part of it in a very unique way, which means playing characters that are important to the story, at the forefront of the story. Obviously, not specifically to Pacific Rim or Star Wars, but I always want to be involved in sci-fi,” Boyega explained.
It was that desire that ultimately guided Boyega to join the Pacific Rim world. “For me, fundamentally, I was one of those fans that were questioning whether a sequel was going to happen and whether Guillermo del Toro would be at the helm,” shared the actor. “Once I heard that Legendary had plans for it in the future, I was excited like everybody else. For me, it was the team attached, the writing, the dialogue, and the opportunity to do it.”
Being the fan that he is of the first film in the series, Boyega did tease what fans could expect when going to see Pacific Rim: Uprising. “Some unique twists and turns, some funny scenes. It’s a great time, it’s fast-paced, and it’s over before you know it and you’re like ‘gosh’,” Boyega teased. “Plus some really cool new characters.”
Speaking of really cool characters, Boyega is really proud of his role as Finn in the Star Wars films, most particularly because his character’s transition from being a part of the First Order to being a hero of the Resistance shed new light on the lives of the stormtroopers, with taking Finn’s backstory to heart in his portrayal. “The big thing was that we didn’t get a chance to really go back to Finn’s day to day life as a stormtrooper. For me, what I wanted to convey was a person that hadn’t been done. You didn’t get a chance to see all the years he had to stay quiet and commit to a movement that he didn’t really believe in. Playing that, in the beginning, was really important, and people got to go on this journey with him,” shared the actor.
As far as the pressure that comes with playing such a huge role, Boyega is fully aware of the responsibility involved in that. “You feel the pressure when it comes to any role. With Force Awakens, we had so much time auditioning, that the role was already built up so, by the time I got to the fifth audition, I felt like I knew how Finn was and I felt like I knew how I wanted to play him. So by the time the principal photography started, you knew where exactly the character was going to go. So being heavily involved and JJ bringing us in, it made the transition easier,” Boyega revealed.
Boyega’s career is not showing any signs of slowing down soon as he’s already got projects lined up. “Next for me filming wise is Star Wars Episode IX in July. They’ve officially given us a note to start training soon,” shared Boyega. “I’m going to take a holiday before that. I think Episode IX, regardless of how the story goes, I haven’t read it yet, is going to be an all-out war. I know that I’m going to have to work out and train for that part.”
The actor is also diving into the producing field on an upcoming project. “I’m going to be producing a TV series that I’m not going to be starring in, with an up and coming director, Sebastian Till,” shared Boyega.
With two big roles, tucked into his repertoire, Boyega has branched out in his career and has also added writing and producing credits to his resume. Those three talents are not the only things that the actor is focusing on as he laughingly shared some of his other hobbies. “Paintballing for sure; I like going with a group,” teased the actor. Another love of his? Collecting fandom items, which include lightsabers, and more. “I have Dragonball Z figures, I have Naruto figures. I’m a nerd. I just do it right,” he laughed.
Yes, he does.
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