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John Boyega On ‘Small Axe’ And Making Art That Matters, Plus The Instant Fame From ‘Star Wars’ – The Actor’s Side


John Boyega made headlines last week after he abruptly left the production of the Netflix movie Rebel’s Ridge that was shooting in New Orleans. “Family reasons” was cited as to why. But I actually caught up with him earlier last month as he was on location in Louisiana about to start that film, slated to be the latest in an impressive line of screen roles for this rising star.

He is the subject of this week’s episode of my Deadline video series The Actor’s Side, on which we discuss all things Boyega including his role in Red, White and Blue, a film that helps make up director Steve McQueen’s Amazon anthology series of five movies under the moniker Small Axe. Boyega has already won Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards, as well earned a BAFTA nomination, for the true life story of Leroy Logan, a British Metropolitan police officer who was moved to join the force and change racist attitudes within after seeing his father become a victim of police violence. There is strong Emmy buzz in the Limited Series categories for Boyega and series overall.

We talk about what it meant to take on a period story that was also personal for his director, who made Small Axe the focus of what he remembered growing up in that particular part of London, as well as to be part of a story that highlights systemic racism still in existence today. In addition to acting, Boyega has been active in speaking out about social issues confronting society, and particularly Black citizens, and talks about why he thinks it is important to make art that also reflects the world we live in. In our wide-ranging discussion he also talks about his breakout role as Finn in the Star Wars universe, his early acting days and success in the cult hit Attack the Block, his own producing aspirations, and much more

To watch our conversation and to get the actor’s side of things from John Boyega, click on the video above.

Be sure to check out a new episode of The Actor’s Side every Wednesday during Emmy season.

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