John Boyega has shut down Marvel rumors, voiced his support for independent films, and now, the “Breaking” actor is revealing one of his biggest career turning points: a heart-to-heart with fellow Brit, Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya.
“I invited Daniel Kaluuya to my house because I was thinking about a lot of stuff. We had a sit-down, and I told him everything about how I felt,” Boyega recalled to The Daily Beast about the time he spent “reassessing all aspects” of his career during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“And it was so simple, the way he reacted,” Boyega continued of “Get Out” and “Nope” star Kaluuya. “He was like, ‘Yeah. You need to prioritize the work, and work with people that actually fuck with you.’ With creative collaborations, we have to find people who are on our wavelength and then we create something good for our audience. That was one of the voices where I was like, OK, this is what I’m going to do.”
Boyega has often reflected on his lasting legacy as Finn in the “Star Wars” Skywalker trilogy, a challenging subject since he called out the racist treatment of the character and the actor’s minimized role across the trilogy in 2020. Boyega looked back on his experience within the franchise as the moment he realized he was “in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me” after so-called fans threatened to boycott the films due to his casting as a Stormtrooper, for which he beat out the likes of Tom Holland for the role.
“For me, it was just the differences,” Boyega told Daily Beast of his “Star Wars” stint. “I always try to take away the lesson of, ‘That was different. But never again.'”
The conversation with Kaluuya “spiraled off into different projects” creatively outside of franchise IPs, as Boyega explained.
“‘Breaking’ certainly happened during the pandemic. In [‘The Woman King’] I play a king who’s protected by some of the most ruthless female warriors out there. And for me, it was realizing, ‘Oh, I’m the guy they call when they need versatility in their projects, and I need to lean into that a little bit more,'” Boyega said.
In addition to Kaluuya, Boyega cited Jamie Foxx, Olivia Washington, Joe Cornish, Juel Taylor, “The Woman King” co-star Viola Davis and director Gina Prince-Bythewood, and “Breaking” director Abi Damaris Corbin and co-stars Kwame Kwei-Armah, Michael K. Williams, and Nicole Beharie as his “allies” in the industry.
“They’ve come out and been like, ‘Let’s go work,'” Boyega said.
But there is one Marvel parallel Boyega just can’t shake: “For me, that synergy and now identifying the people who are like, ‘We agree,’ is in my head like that last portal scene in [‘Avengers’] ‘Endgame’ where they’re coming out on your left.”