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John Boyega Network
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01/10/2016  •  Posted By alikat  •  0 Comment(s) Interview Press Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

November 28, 2014

CNN – With “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” it’s John Boyega’s time to shine.


Yes, the cast for the upcoming “Episode VII” is huge and packed with big-name stars, including franchise veterans Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.


But in the new teaser for “The Force Awakens,” which nearly broke the Internet when it was released Friday, it’s Boyega who’s featured.


In the first 25 seconds, a chilling voice announces that “there’s been awakening.” And then, in a great bit of editing, we see Boyega pop up on screen, startled, sweaty and in a Stormtrooper suit.


What does that mean? Only time and/or director J.J. Abrams will tell. We still don’t know exactly who Boyega is playing in “The Force Awakens,” but clearly he’s integral to the story if he’s opening the biggest trailer of the year.


As we countdown to Boyega’s appearance alongside Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and more in “The Force Awakens,” here’s what you should know about the actor:


1. He hails from London.


Boyega, 22, is making his fellow Londoners proud.


The young actor was born to Nigerian parents in Peckham, London, and studied performing arts at South Thames College. From there, he trained at The Identity School of Acting and took to the stage at London venues like the National Theatre and the Tricycle Theatre.


2. You know him best from “Attack the Block.”


For those who’ve seen 2011’s sleeper hit “Attack the Block,” Boyega is a huge selling point for “The Force Awakens.” The premise for “Attack” is kind of crazytown, as it follows a group of streetwise kids who battle aliens that descend upon South London.


But Boyega completely owns the role of Moses in the film, turning “Attack” into a must-see. Even more impressive, “Attack” was Boyega’s first feature film role.


As Vanity Fair has explained, if “it’s a lightsaber-swinging Jedi we want, then Boyega is simply the man for the job. For his credentials, you need only look at his most prominent film to-date, the cult sci-fi hit, ‘Attack The Block.’ ”


3. His first role was as a leopard in a school play.


Boyega has harbored aspirations to act since he was very young and recalled to Interview magazine in 2011 that it was an elementary school play that turned him on to the art form.


“I went on all fours, and I was playing this leopard, and I gave him character breakdown, and I was doing the work and doing the research and creating a character,” he said. “That is the greatest feeling ever. When you’re young and you’re like, ‘Oh, this is quite cool, and I really, really want to do this.’ ”


4. He’s a Marvel fan.


Boyega revealed he’s a Marvel fanboy this year, right before Comic-Con 2014.


With rumors running hot that the studio was about to unveil a Black Panther movie at the annual comics-centric event, Boyega stoked the flames with tweets that he was “aiming” for the role.


“Marvel role? … damn right aiming for it,” Boyega tweeted in July. “Currently booking flight to Wakanda.”


Marvel’s Black Panther was one of the first black superheroes in mainstream comic books, and Wakanda was his home.


Although the role wound up going to Chadwick Boseman, that wasn’t for Boyega’s lack of effort.


5. He’s a must-follow on Instagram.


You’ll notice that it’s now much harder to find Boyega on Twitter — and there are some theories as to why — but his Instagram feed is not only a glimpse behind-the-scenes of “The Force Awakens” but also into the actor’s personal life.


01/10/2016  •  Posted By alikat  •  0 Comment(s) Interview Press Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

April 29, 2014


Now that we know the principal cast members of the new Star Wars trilogy, the next mystery everyone is scrambling to solve is: “but who are they playing?” We’re on pretty firm territory with the Orginal Three: Luke, Leia, and Han. And we know that Girls actor Adam Driver is meant to be one of our bad guys. Along with, I’d imagine, Max von Sydow, who never met a sneer he didn’t like. But who, among this crop of new faces, is meant to be our hero going forward in the franchise? The obvious answer is, well, obvious. It’s as plain as the dimples on Domhnall Gleeson’s face.


The new Star Wars films have promised us Skywalker and Solo the next generation. So that’s certainly what I’m expecting. But that doesn’t mean Skywalker Jr. up there needs to be our hero. And, in fact, the original Star Wars allowed for multiple (some might say three) heroes. Though the script is already written and the die and actors already cast, I’m holding out hope that this new Star Wars will give us the hero we deserve: John Boyega.



And I’m not saying that merely in reaction to the vocal concerns over the cast’s lack of diversity. As our Richard Lawson rightly put it,


While the original films may suggest it by example, there’s nothing in the world of Star Wars that explicitly says that women don’t have as much agency as men, or that there isn’t a vast array of skin colors within the humanoid population zigzagging across space. So why so stringently follow the terrible rules of our own culture, where minorities and women are systematically marginalized in favor of white male hero after white male hero? Star Wars is pure fantasy, and yet a lot of this initial casting seems to follow our dullest and most frustrating terrestrial tendencies.


Yes indeed, and wouldn’t it be some manner of stride in the right direction for Boyega to unexpectedly take up the mantle of sci-fi franchise lead? An honor never bestowed on a black actor? Even the great Idris Elba had to play second fiddle to Charlie Hunnam in last year’s Pacific Rim. Michael B. Jordan has somewhat of a shot at anchoring the new Fantastic Four franchise, but, canon-wise, his character Johnny Storm doesn’t hold a candle to Miles Teller’s character Mister Fantastic. That brings us back to Boyega.


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01/10/2016  •  Posted By alikat  •  0 Comment(s) Attack the Block Interview Press


MOVIELINE – Now that his feature film debut as a hoodlum-turned-savior in Attack the Block is finally hitting theaters stateside, 19-year-old John Boyega is savoring his big moment. As Moses, the hardened teen anti-hero of Joe Cornish’s British alien invasion romp, Boyega leads a gang of misfit delinquents into battle against a horde of vicious E.T.s to defend a South London council block. Off-screen, the charismatic up-and-comer has a new territory in his sights: Hollywood.


Upon debuting at SXSW, Attack the Block earned its geek-approved buzz the hard way: By earning it, with relatively little marketing from distributor Screen Gems, through a grassroots campaign that won some of the most dedicated fans (“Blockheads”) of any film this year. (Opening over the weekend, Attack the Block earned a $16,250 per-screen average in limited release.) Much of the hook is the genre appeal — part John Carpenter, part Goonies, it flies on its sharp wit and the visceral thrill of letting children fight aliens, plain and simple — but there’s more than meets the eye to Attack the Block. Like Boyega’s performance, for starters.


Moses the character is a clever, biting piece of film-as-social commentary in itself; introduced while mugging a young nurse (Jodie Whittaker) at knifepoint, he becomes a hero by circumstance when furry, animal-like aliens begin assaulting South London one fateful night, triggering his juvenile aggression. But circumstance is just as much to blame for Moses’s violent ways to begin with, and under Cornish’s direction, Boyega lets his vulnerable secrets slip, bit by bit, to reveal tragic beginnings.


It’s a performance made all the more impressive by Moses’s relatively little dialogue, built primarily on silent glances and sheer screen presence. (Boyega cites The Wire as pre-performance homework.) In real life, however, the ebullient actor couldn’t be farther from his on-screen alter ego, as Movieline learned upon meeting him earlier this summer on the Sony lot to discuss Attack the Block and his future plans for taking Hollywood by storm.


You’ve taken this film from its humble beginnings to opening in the U.K. to now doing a press tour in the U.S., and we’re talking to you for a column called The Verge. How do you feel things are going from where you’re sitting?


Well, I feel things are looking more clear. Just have to put in the work, you know. There’s a lot of hard work to do.


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01/10/2016  •  Posted By alikat  •  0 Comment(s) Press Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

TELEGRAPH – Star Wars: The Force Awakens lead grew up on the tough streets where Damilola Taylor died, but love of acting took him to the top


It promises to be one of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters; the return of the epic intergalactic drama that has inspired a massive global franchise and won millions of fans.


But one actor playing a lead role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, could not have come from more humble beginnings.


The son of a Nigerian preacher, John Boyega, 23, grew up on a council estate in Peckham, across the road from the estate where Damilola Taylor was stabbed in 2000.


It was a rough area, neighbours said, where gangs, guns and knives were part of everyday life.


“To us that was normal; it was just how we grew up,” said a friend who was raised on the same estate as Boyega and his two older sisters, Grace and Blessing.


“But theatre kept John out of trouble completely. The theatre was his second home, it was the only place I saw him.”


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01/10/2016  •  Posted By alikat  •  0 Comment(s) Press Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

THE TELEGRAPH – Peckham-born actor John Boyega is the lead role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens but very little is known about him

April 25, 2015

Director JJ Abrams wanted to cast relative unknowns for the new Star Wars film, and 23-year-old Peckham-born actor John Boyega fits the bill.


He is the lead role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens but very little is known about him.


Boyega was the first character to appear in the teaser trailer, wearing a Stormtrooper outfit, but with no helmet. Two weeks later Lucasfilm identified him as Finn, adding that he was “on the run”.


Here are five things you didn’t know about John Boyega


Damilola Taylor and the Peckham estate where he was stabbed to death


1. He grew up on a council estate in Peckham


Boyega grew up on a council estate in Peckham, across the road from the estate where Damilola Taylor was stabbed in 2000.


Damilola, who was a similar age to Boyega and whose parents were also Nigerian, was discovered bleeding to death in a stairwell of North Peckham Estate just before his 11th birthday.


Another of Boyega’s peers, Samuel Ogunro, was found shot in the back of the head in a burning car in Peckham in 2010, when he was 17. His murder had been “arranged” by a south London gang member who was in prison at the time.

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01/10/2016  •  Posted By alikat  •  0 Comment(s) Attack the Block Interview

Published 07/29/11

INTERVIEW – Start with aliens, teenagers, and one doomed housing project in South London, add a bit of Nick Frost’s signature absurd humor, and you’ve got Attack the Block, a new film by first-time director Joe Cornish. Although the film may be his first, Cornish, a longtime radio DJ, has been working for years behind the scenes with Edgar Wright, the director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. In Attack the Block, Cornish takes a few cues from Wright—most notably, flipping the alien-invasion genre on its head. In this film, there are no armies or battleships to stop the furry fanged creatures; instead, there’s a group of hilarious if disaffected teens, lead by John Boyega as Moses. Boyega, in his first feature role, manages to pull off the steely reserve of a leading man with some underlying teenage angst.


Prior to booking Attack the Block, Boyega was a working actor, juggling performances in three plays to get by. Although he was just starting out, when Boyega first heard about the story of Attack the Block, he was skeptical. “I got the call from agent about the film, which was an alien attack in London,” says Boyega. “I thought that was incredible crap.”


However, after reading the script, Boyega fell in love with the story and after getting the part he “did this big dance in Leicester Square.”


For Boyega, taking on a role that included stunts, pyrotechnics, and acting opposite imaginary creatures was an ideal way to start a film career. “[It] was incredibly fun… I just always compare it to being a kid and running around and imagining things that aren’t there,” says Boyega. “It’s the same thing, just in a professional, controlled environment.”

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01/10/2016  •  Posted By alikat  •  0 Comment(s) Interview

December 18, 2013


THE GLASS MAGAZINE – The precociously talented young British actor John Boyega made his film debut in 2011 starring in the critically acclaimed UK hit Attack the Block. Since then he’s gone on to play a variety of roles including BBC3 produced My Murder and Junkhearts, directed by the award-winning Tinge Krishnan. At the tender age of 21, Boyega displays an on screen conviction and presence that’s beyond his years.


Boyega has recently completed filming the highly anticipated Half Of A Yellow Sun, based on the novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Directed by Biyi Bandele, John appears alongside a stellar cast including Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Joseph Mawle, in a drama about the struggle to establish a Nigerian independent republic.


Boyega’s next project, Imperial Dreams will have its world premiere at the prestigious Sundance Festival in early 2014, but more immediately, he’s set to appear in BBC produced The Whale, later this month as a member of a cast which includes US-screen giant Martin Sheen.



What made you decide to get into acting?


I guess that question to me has somewhat evolved as I’ve got older, I know I’m only 21, but acting found me in a sense. I just found myself being good at it, but I commend my primary school educational system for presenting that option to me because I was probably wouldn’t have found it, I was spending a lot of my acting energy at playtime making up stuff, doing what kids do, but also just establishing that [acting] as a love.


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