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Why Is John Boyega Laughing? Find Out In Our Exclusive Interview #StarWarsEvent

“And then I got cast! They cast a Star Wars fan in a Star Wars movie. It’s guaranteed that Star Wars is going to be with me for the rest of my life” –John Boyega –Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens


When John Boyega enters a room, his exuberance is so great that his energy and positivity fill the entire space. His smile and gregarious nature is contagious, so much so that you almost forget that the 23-year-old relatively unknown actor is about to possibly save the galaxy in the newest chapter in the Star Wars saga. So just how did this newcomer from the South Side of London who knew he had to be an actor at a very early age end up as one of the leads in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? We sat down with John last Sunday to talk about that, his path to a galaxy far, far away and life in general.  John plays the conscience-stricken, AWOL storm trooper Finn, who along with Rey, brought to life by another newcomer Daisy Ridley, is searching for a place to belong in the galaxy.  Boyega is keenly aware of the significance of opening up the galaxy as a place where everyone is welcome. The actor, who has two older sisters, was born in the U.K., but his father, a Pentecostal minister, and his mother, a caregiver for people with disabilities, had immigrated to England from Nigeria before he was born. Up until now, Boyega was best known for his role in the cult-hit Attack the Block, starring as a street gang leader who rallies his neighborhood to fight back an alien invasion. Now he will be rallying an entirely different kind of troops.

What was you relationship with Star Wars growing up and how important was it to you?


“ Phantom Menace was the first movie I saw, and then a few years later I saw the originals. But during that time I was just into the merchandise, the games and the comic books, and the Star Wars fandom has been with me ever since. And then I got cast! They cast a Star Wars fan in a Star Wars movie. It’s guaranteed that Star Wars is going to be with me for the rest of my life.”

When you first put on the Storm Trooper outfit and saw yourself in the mirror, what was your reaction?



“I did like the way my gluts looked. it was a good experience because something like that makes it so real that you’re involved in this universe. I mean, when you put on the costume it’s the final kind of step of becoming a character. You put on the costume, and you see yourself as a character that isn’t you, and so that is something that was quite profound.”

Once you had the costume on, what was it like to live out your childhood dream of swinging a lightsaber in a battle against the Dark Side of the Force?

“It started with rehearsals. We had Adam Driver there who plays Kylo Ren. That was the first time ever I had a stick in my hand that I could pretend was a lightsaber, which was the first stage of excitement. I had to do all the sound effects and stuff by myself. Of course once I was in front of the cameras, I was given a much more elaborate prop. That’s when I got the real saber, which is blue, it’s lighted, and just looks really epic.. It felt so monumental in my hand. I knew not to play like I used to when I was a kid, but to actually use it in serious combat for a scene. It’s absolutely crazy to have it in your hand. It’s a bit heavy but it’s worth it. It was quite a thing to get used to. You had to be in the flow of the rhythm to make sure the hand didn’t get caught or you’d be in pain for a quick second. When I first got to raise the light saber, that was a good day”

Being a lifelong Star Wars fan, how does it feel to be a part of a franchise that sort of stands for generations?


“It feels really cool and quite weird at the same time because I remember what it was like to grow up being a fan. You don’t think about all of those specifics when you’re auditioning because it’s all about booking the part, and then also, you don’t think about that while you’re filming because it’s about the reality of the scenes. The characters don’t know that they’re in a Star Wars movie that will change people’s lives – they’re in their reality. I remember being with my driver in the UK when we’re going to the set, and he was just like, ‘You know what, mate? When you die, you’re not going to be really dead because you’re going to be everywhere anyway.’ And I just thought, oh yeah, that’s an interesting thought. And so it’s really quite surprising to be a part of that” 

What makes the Star Wars movies and story so timeless in your opinion?


“In my opinion, I just think it’s the continuous dialog between fans. Fans have the ability to make a whole press conference on probably two minutes worth of footage, like, who shot first? That was a few seconds. There’s a whole debate about that, and that keeps fans engaged even when the movie’s aren’t there. There’s only been six films, but if you look at the fandom, it reflects as if there’s been twenty. I think it’s because there are different ways in which you can, experience Star Wars. You don’t necessarily have to watch the films. You can just have the merchandise and you can just know it from there. There are several ways that you can be a Star Wars fan, and I think that’s different than any other property.”

What was that moment like when you finally found out that you had actually gotten the part?

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“It was in a café with J.J. and Larry Kasdan, and he told me face-to-face. I thought he was going to tell me I didn’t get the part because J.J. is just that nice. I’d auditioned for seven months, and I felt like if he was going to tell me it didn’t go my way, he would’ve invited me to a dinner and just go, you know what? At least you get a free meal, But you know, it worked out well. I told my agent who I’ve known since I was sixteen and then randomly told a taxi driver. I was like, ‘You know what, I’ve just been cast in the new Star Wars!’ and he said, ‘All right, mate.’ I didn’t really celebrate as I don’t drink but everybody else was drinking around me and thought ‘Hey, this is great,’ but the next- literally the next day, we started training and I was released into a world of work.”

What kind of training was involved for the lightsabers as well as the other physical demands that come with playing Finn?

“We started with hand-to-hand combat specifically because Adam and I had to do the choreographed scenes together. Finn has a lot of shooting, running especially with Rey and I. Daisy and I had to get our cardiovascular skills up and that was treacherous but it was fun because when we were filming the scenes, you realize why the training was so intense because once your filming the scenes in the real locations the reality hits so there’s no time to kind of slack.”

How much of the stunts did you take on? In the explosion scene that’s been playing, was that you or a stunt double?


“That was me. That was all me. I was fantastic. With explosions like that, there are health and safety regulations and all those things, but while we were on set, I didn’t think I expected them to be that big. I just remember coming and J.J. saying ‘Okay John we’re going to do this scene and just run. Do the dialog, have fun. All right- lights, action!’  And I’m running, and I’m like, look at Daisy, and I see that everyone’s backing up. J.J.’s going further and further away, They were putting a plastic cloak over the camera; people were putting goggles on and hats on and I looked at Daisy as if to say ‘ Like why- how come we…’ and they called action, and then I realized why. if you watch the scene, I’m actually legitimately freaking out, I might not have another, take. I’m too young to die like this. But it was definitely fun those scenes.”

Can you speak to the relationship between Finn and Poe?


“When Finn escapes the First Order, he crosses paths with various characters and Poe is one of them. They definitely have a brother type relationship. Finn finds a friend in Poe and Poe represents what Finn wants to be. Poe is definitive in his position of who he fights for; what side he’s on, and Finn is more in limbo. Finn is kind of at a point where he doesn’t necessarily fight with the Storm Troopers but he doesn’t want to fight the resistance. In the end he sees he has to and Poe gives him a lot of clarity on in and on who he is as a person.”

Off the topic of Star Wars, you have the unique ability to do many different voices. How did that come to be?

Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com

Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com

 “My dad. My dad is a Pentecostal minister. Growing up in church was very entertaining with my dad because, if you went to a normal church, it would be quite stoic and serious. But when you went to my dad’s church, it was hilarious and engaging. A normal preacher would handle Noah’s Ark stories from the point of view of Noah. My dad would go to the animals, It’s probably like, it’s how the animals felt, and he would tell a story of Mrs. Tiger- Mr. Tiger and how they had conflict and how they had to have faith and go together and get on Noah’s Ark, and all this kind of stuff. He would tell the stories by doing the voices. For me, I picked that up, and obviously Shrek and all those animated films. Actually the first movie I saw in a theater was A Bug’s Life. I’ve always been exposed to larger than life movies. And so from then on, I’ve I’ve always done, done voices.”

What do you think is the most inspiring thing about your character?

Star Wars

“I think what’s inspiring about Finn is how complex he is. He’s a Storm Trooper who has never really experienced individuality. I think that we’ve always known Storm Troopers to just be one unit, and we’ve never, ever had a Storm Trooper take off his helmet for us to see who he really is. All you’ve ever had is the lead characters in disguise. For me, I find that already iconic to me as a fan to be able to actually talk to one of those. Plus I always felt sorry for those Storm Troopers. It’s like they send them out just to be shot and I’ve always wanted to say, ‘Man, you know what? There must be a different career for you, mate.’ Finn is the first Storm Trooper to actually go, you know what? I need a new job. So it’s, it’s really cool to experience a Storm Trooper in that sense.” 

And finally, we’re asking everyone we talk to If you had a lightsaber in real life, what color would it be?

Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com

Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com

“My lightsaber would be rainbow colors so they’d know I was there, I’d be like, ‘Whooo,’ so that if I was about to go to town I’d be all over the place, switching between the interchangeable modes to the flash modes, and then disco mode. I’m about peace; I’m not trying to get into fights with no one. I’m all about the fun.”



What secrets did Harrison Ford reveal? Find out that and much more in our exclusive interview with him.

Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com

Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com

What’s it like to have your very first movie role happen to be in the the biggest movie ever? Find out what Daisy Ridley had to say about being Rey and more in our interview with her.

Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com

Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com


Want to know what it was like to be a part of the top secret Star War Global Press Day? Read all about the experience here.

BB8 #StarWarsEvent


Next up at the interview table tomorrow, hear all about our one on one  interview with the incomparable lady behind it all, the one and only Kathleen Kennedy.  


There’s Been An Awakening…Star Wars The Force Awakens New Poster

When a ruthless prince rises to power and threatens galactic peace, a runaway soldier, an uncongenial scavenger, and a hot shot pilot find their fates intertwined as they embark on a journey to find the most powerful warrior in the galaxy.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opens everywhere on Friday!


Disclosure: I have been invited by Disney to cover this media event. All material and expenses for this event have been provided courtesy of Walt Disney Studios but all opinions my own.