News broke at the start of June that John Boyega was abruptly exiting Jeremy Saulnier’s Netflix movie “Rebel Ridge” due to “family reasons.” The movie, Saulnier’s second Netflix original feature after “Hold the Dark,” was only a week into filming in Louisiana after being delayed for a year because of the pandemic. A new report from The Hollywood Reporter alleged via sources that “Boyega simply walked away from the production with filming underway.” Boyega’s London-based agent, Femi Oguns, denied the claim and stressed “family reasons” were the cause of the exit.
As reported by THR: “According to one person with knowledge of the situation, the filmmakers only discovered [Boyega had exited the film] when they looked for him at his hotel and found that he had checked out…According to sources, there seemed to be no one incident that prompted Boyega to leave in the midst of shooting. Several insiders, however, say the star had myriad issues ranging from the script to his accommodations.”
“Top Netflix executives, including head of global films Scott Stuber and co-CEO Ted Sarandos, tried to persuade the star to return to the set without success,” THR’s report continues, although a source close to Netflix told IndieWire that Sarandos was not involved. “Dozens of crew members on the project were let go after Boyega’s departure as the production disbanded. The shutdown may be temporary, however. Sources say the new plan is to resume shooting with a new lead early next year.”
Boyega’s agent Oguns issued the following statement to THR combating the report: “I can categorically say that these rumors are completely untrue. People will form their opinions often rooted from boredom. As stated John unfortunately left due to family reasons which in truth is none of anyone’s business except his own. John and Netflix have a wonderful relation which will continue to grow for years to come whether that be through his acting or through [Boyega’s production company] UpperRoom.”
When news of Boyega’s exit first hit at the start of the month, a Netflix spokesperson said the streamer was still “looking forward to continuing our partnership with John Boyega’s UpperRoom Productions.” While he won’t appear in “Rebel Ridge,” Boyega is the star of the upcoming Netflix movie “They Cloned Tyrone.” “Rebel Ridge” is budgeted at a reported $25 million and co-stars AnnaSophia Robb, Emory Cohen, Don Johnson, James Cromwell, and James Badge Dale. Filming will pick back up with a new lead actor in 2022.
IndieWire has reached out to representatives for John Boyega for further comment.