John Boyega: "Non White Actors Are Pushed Aside By Disney"

Yesterday (2nd September 2020), Star Wars superstar John Boyega met with British GQ journalist Jimi Famurewa to discuss a range of topics, including his involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement & racial prejudice still surrounding Disney & the Hollywood entertainment industry, among many more thought provoking subjects.

John Boyega, from Peckham, London, played the role of Finn in the newest release from Star War's triology.

During Britain’s Black Lives Matter rallies in June, John Boyega wrote his name in the history of racial justice and joined fellow end-racism protesters in order to make systematical changes and recognition of the daily discrimination, racism and prejudice which is still evidently very well alive in the UK, USA and beyond.

Reported by GQ in his first interview since finishing Star Wars and that unguarded address from a Hyde Park stage, he explains how both of the platforms inspired him to make a change, but for very different and understandable reasons. Now, starring in Steve McQueen’s latest project 'Small Axe' as a Met policeman in the depths of institutional racism and breaking his industry’s expectation of silence, actor and activist is speaking with one voice.

In the interview John made yet another wave throughout the TV & Film industry (and beyond) by calling out the filmmakers working under Disney for the Star Wars Trilogy in which Boyega was marketed as a star before release, but in reality felt as though his and other characters of diversity were 'pushed to the side'

"What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side," he told GQ.

"It's not good. I'll say it straight up." - The 28 year old talent acknowledged an actor is "not necessarily going to like everything" in a film. He also went on to give recognition to Star Wars and how it was an "amazing opportunity" and a "stepping stone". But he rightly vented his displeasure about the disappointing story lines in The Rise of Skywalker.

"You guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver, you knew what to do with these other people," he told the magazine.

Ridley's character Rey and Driver, as Kylo Ren, were at the heart of the plot about the fate of the Jedi and the Skywalker dynasty.

But J.J Abrams film-makers didn't quite know what do to with Finn or Kelly Marie Tran's character Rose, Boyega stated. He also suggested how Naomi Ackie, the black talented British actress who played Jannah, and Guatemalan-born Oscar Isaac, who played Poe, were similarly marginalized and made to seem unimportant to the script.

"What do you want me to say?" Boyega

continued. "What they want you to say is, 'I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience... Nah, nah, nah. I'll take that deal when it's a great experience. They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let's be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I'm not exposing anything."

He also spoke about the on-set hair stylists who had zero experience of working with hair Afro-Caribbean hair types, which is much different to Caucasian, but "still had the guts to pretend".

Disney is yet to respond to the allegations, and neither has the trilogy director JJ Abrams, but yet Boyega defended Abrams, saying: "Everybody needs to leave my boy alone." Abrams stepped up to the director's chair after former director Colin Trevorrow departed in 2017.

There's been no responses yet from any of the main figures in the Star Wars universe - or many others in Hollywood.

Those praising Boyega included Rachel Zegler, who will play Maria in Steven Spielberg's new West Side Story; The Good Place star Jameela Jamil; Matthew A Cherry, who won an Oscar for a short film this year; and British actor Paterson Joseph.

However, not all were in agreement with the actors personal experiences with journalist Michael Rappaport commenting to John on twitter that he should "be grateful" for his opportunity and that without Disney, he would not be where he is today.

Check out the full interview below!

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