John Boyega’s career kicked into hyper speed after the interstellar success of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and now the actor has time to reflect.
Boyega, 25, shares his thoughts on stage versus screen, Samuel L. Jackson’s opinions about black British actors, random airport searches and more in an interview with ES Magazine.
The young actor returns to the West End stage after a seven year absence, playing the titular role in Woyzeck. Boyega describes the theatre as a nice breather between filming Hollywood mega blockbusters, “On movies you don’t really get time to rehearse so that was a shock to me. On the second day, I was thinking to myself: ‘Oi mate, why don’t you know these lines?’ Because on a film you need to be ready to go.”
“‘We’re spending $250,000 an hour’ and all that kind of stuff,” he says with the voice of a Hollywood big shot. “So this feels like a holiday. A really strenuous holiday with some good people.”
Boyega also addresses Samuel L. Jackson’s criticism of black British actors taking black American actors roles in Hollywood. “Damn, Sam,” says Boyega. “I love him but he didn’t have to go there. I was actually going to send him a message to check that he’s cool. But look, I get it, I just think there’s no end result in black Brits and African Americans going back and forth at each other.”
“I rate Sam and he’s always showed me love — he’s like a big unc[le] — but, across the planet, the black experience is a layered one and his comments didn’t represent that.”
Being a big Hollywood star must draw some attention from the ladies, but Boyega is keeping a tight lip, “I’m good. I’ve had various people try to find out [my relationship status] but you’ll have to run really fast to try and catch out a Peckham [London] boy when it comes to what he’s up to.”
As a working actor, the “Star Wars” star travels constantly and he used to run into a lot of resistance. “I used to fly back and forth when I was hustling and auditioning for things in LA,” he explains. “I’d get cheap flights and stay there for two weeks or whatever. And every time I was getting these random checks. Every. Single. Time. I wish I remembered the airline because I called them out on it, too. Like, “This stuff ain’t right”.
“Anyway, they said it was a problem Stateside, they gave me a letter and it stopped,” he continues. “But before that it was consistent. I understand that [these things] are for our safety but when you fly a lot and it happens three or four times there’s an element of, ‘Okay, I’m still not a terrorist.'”
Boyega’s issue of ES Magazine is out Thursday, April 20.