John Boyega is a mountain of energy as he enters the room and from the start of the interview I knew we were going to have a lot of laughs. He seems to be quite the opposite of the conflicted Stormtrooper that he plays in the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
On the Set
When John saw himself as a Stormtrooper for the first time it was the final step at becoming his character and it felt quite profound. When he held a lightsaber for the first time he felt the power of what it can do because it captured the imagination of onlookers.
His lightsaber training was actually hand to hand combat. John and Adam Driver, who plays Kylo Ren, had to do the choreographed scenes together. Finn has a lot of scenes where he is shooting and running, this required him to get his cardiovascular skills in top shape.
There were no doubles in the famous scene from the trailer of John and Daisy running with the explosions around them, they worked really hard on the set. When filming this scene John didn’t expect the explosions to be that big. Director J.J. Abrams told them about the scene and for them to just run. They started to film the scene, the camera was covered with safety gear, the crew had protective goggles on and when J.J. called action they just started running. Then the explosions went off and the reaction you see in the trailer is really them freaking out, John confesses that it was still fun to film it.
The audition process took 7 months and during that time John said that it was really hard to channel a character without enough content to pull from. He was not allow to take a script home and it was tough at times to know how to play Finn. There were auditions where he’d have to play a mind game with J.J. to try and understand what J.J. wanted from him without giving away the story.
John confesses that being a part of franchise that expands generations is cool and weird at the same time. He didn’t think about it that way while auditioning for the part because he was really focused on booking the part. Even while filming he didn’t think about being part of the franchise in that way because the characters don’t know that they are in a Star Wars film that will change people’s lives, they are in their own reality.
John was in a cafe with J.J. Abrams and Larry Kasdan when they told him face to face that he had gotten the part. The first person he told was his agent and then his cab driver. Afterwards he didn’t really celebrate too much because the next day they started training and he was released into a world of work.
Life Changing Events
Once the trailer was released his life gradually started to change. Sometimes people recognize him and do a double take but then say “nah, that’s not him” so for now his rise to fame is gradual. Just recently he took an Uber to see the movie Creed, he was able to walk on Hollywood Blvd and even went to a car show and no one recognized him. He does realize that it will all change very soon but he’s enjoying it now.
John was first exposed to Star Wars with the prequel movies and he enjoyed them. However, it wasn’t until years later when he decided that he wanted to be an actor that he watched the original movies and really loved the storylines. John identifies more with human characters like Han Solo who is trying to make money and survive.
In John’s opinion it’s the continued dialog between the fans that makes the Star Wars movies timeless. The fandom that it has created is huge. There are different ways in which you can experience Star Wars, you don’t even have to watch the films, you can just have the merchandise.
A Conflicted Stormtrooper
In the Star Wars films we’ve never had a Stormtrooper take off his helmet, we’ve only seen the lead characters in disguise. Stormtroopers don’t experience individuality, we’ve always know them to be one unit. John’s character Finn is complex because he is the first Stormtrooper to realize that he needs a new job.
When he escapes the First Order he comes across a variety of characters and Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, is one of them. They have a brother relationship and Finn finds a friend in Poe.
Poe represents what Finn wants to be, he has a firm position of who he fights for, what side he is on. Finn is more in limbo because he doesn’t want to fight with the Stormtroopers, and doesn’t really want to fight in the resistance. Poe gives him clarity on who he is as a person.
If John had a lightsaber in real life it would be in rainbow color, he is all about peace but it would have a flash modes and a disco mode so that everyone knew he was there.
It was a pleasure to interview John Boyega, he is an up and coming star, it will be a joy to watch his career take off. This photo captures what the interview with him was like, we all laughed a lot.
Read more about the#StarWarsEvent on my blog:
- Secret “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Press Event
- Harrison Ford Talks About Stepping Back Into Han Solo’s Boots
- Exclusive Interview with Rising Star Daisy Ridley (Rey)
- 7 Spoiler Free Things You Need to Know About Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Kathleen Kennedy is More than Just a Mom
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer
Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.
The film opens December 18, 2015!!!
Visit the official STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS website.
Disclaimer: I was invited by Disney and LucasFilm to cover the StarWarsEvent for 5 Minutes for Mom and all expenses were paid for but all opinions are my own.
All interview photo credit to Louise Bishop of www.MomStart.com