John Boyega may have been out of the mix for a while, but fans of the Small Axe star will be getting a double dose of the Golden Globe-winning actor in two upcoming films slated to release this fall: Breaking and Woman King.
Talk of the former film is heavily centered in a new interview for the Daily Beast, where Boyega spoke about his experience filming it and the circle of allyship he’s received after his passionate impromptu speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London back in 2020.
Breaking tells the heartbreaking true story of Marine Veteran Brian Brown-Easley who, after being denied support from Veterans Affairs and financially desperate, takes a bank and several of its employees hostage, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with the police.
Speaking to how he was able to tap in emotionally to bring this film to life, Boyega explained:
I think it’s the opportunity in the leading role, which is the opportunity that the audience is going to be following you and your perspective throughout the story. When that perspective is highlighted and uplifted, and that’s why the other actors support that perspective, it gives you a responsibility of making sure that what the audience is seeing is well-understood and they can take it in while also trying to entertain them. There’s more of an immense appreciation for the responsibility of it all, whereas in supporting, I take a backseat and am supporting their narrative and just doing my part.
On the allure of taking on this particular role, Boyega admitted that it was the script (penned by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Abi Damaris Corbin) that drew him in.
“There was something spiritual I felt about it anyway, because I was just back home and thinking to myself, ‘I want to do something meaningful,’ the Attack the Block star told the Daily Beast. “It was after Small Axe had come out and then I got the Golden Globe, I think to a certain extent I needed a reminder that I was good and could do certain things, because for a long time, naturally when you’re in a franchise playing the same role for a long amount of time, I know the audience loves it and I love it, but the extent of it is that as an actor you want to explore other sides to your versatility because it’s hard to convince you guys that we can do other stuff.”
Additionally, Boyega also reflected on the aftermath of his career-defining speech back in 2020 and shared that while he was initially worried about the negative backlash, he’s now come to realize that there are a whole lot of positives that have come from it as well. Specifically, a new set of allies in the industry who are on “the same wavelength:”
The flip side of that is, you feel like the industry is all one person. And then through the filter, someone shoots out like boom, and you look up, and it’s someone in the industry and you just didn’t know that they thought like you. They’re like, no, I’m in this position, but I mess with what you were saying. That’s Jamie Foxx. That’s Viola Davis. That’s Gina Prince-Bythewood. That’s Abi [Damaris Corbin]. That’s Kwame Kwei-Armah. Michael K. Williams. Nicole Beharie. These are all my allies.
To read Boyega’s full interview, head to thedailybeast.com. You can catch him next in Breaking when it premieres Friday, Aug. 26 and in the Woman King on Sep. 16.