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John Boyega Explains Why Big Franchise Movies Can Be ‘Luxury Jail for an Actor’

Boyega says playing the same character over many years can "starve" your other acting muscles.

John Boyega

John Boyega

Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

John Boyega knows what it’s like to lead a big franchise movie, as he fronted the most recent “Star Wars” movie trilogy as Finn opposite Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac. While the actor has been vocal about his issues with Disney for mishandling Finn’s story arc, he also believes that committing oneself to playing the same character over many years can result in “starving” other acting muscles. This belief is part of what led Boyega to Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” film anthology, which earned Boyega the best reviews of his career last fall.

“Being in a big franchise, it’s kind of like luxury jail sometimes for an actor when you want to do something else,” Boyega said in a Q&A with CinemaBlend (via Digital Spy). “Because remember, in a franchise you’re working on one character for many years, which can starve your other muscles. And in wanting to be in something where I knew that I’d play a different type of role, a different type of man, and then knowing Steve [McQueen] through, we’re all a part of the same industry so I’d heard about Steve’s directing style, I was really really curious and excited to have the opportunity anyway to be a part of it. And when it came through I was on the [telephone] like, ‘This is my moment.'”

“Star Wars” is not the only big franchise film Boyega has starred in, as the actor was front and center in 2018’s “Pacific Rim: Uprising.” The film received middling reviews and tepid box office returns and thus there are no plans to continue the series with a new installment. As for “Star Wars,” Boyega revealed in November that he had “a very honest, a very transparent conversation” with a Disney executive who reached out about his “Star Wars” criticisms.

Boyega said, “There was a lot of explaining on their end in terms of the way they saw things. They gave me a chance also to explain what my experience was like. I’d hope that me being so open with my career, at this stage, would help the next man, the guy that wants to be the assistant DOP, the guy that wants to be a producer. I hope that the conversation is not such a taboo or elephant in the room now, because someone just came and said it.”

Next up for Boyega are starring roles in “Naked Singularity” and the Netflix science-fiction feature “They Cloned Tyrone.”

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