EXCLUSIVE: John Boyega on Black Brits taking over and how faith fuels his success

The star of the upcoming film, Pacific Rim Uprising, opens up about his faith and a few famous friends.

John Boyega
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John Boyega is gearing up for the release of his latest film, Pacific Rim Uprising, which he stars in and produced.

And although the Star Wars alum has already made quite an impact on the sci-fi world, he’s praising another project that he wasn’t even a part of in an exclusive interview with The Grio.

Black Panther is more than a film. It’s a movement; an amazing, positive movement within the entertainment industry. Representation is so important to everybody. Everyone is passionate about representation unless they are fully represented already and I think Black Panther has pioneered and led us in a direction that we are lucky to be alive to experience,” he told TheGrio.

“Some people would argue that it’s not that deep, but it is that deep. Tell me the last time you saw a Black film with that kind of budget. I’ve never seen that before. For my Black superheroes to not have to go up to a white man for gratification or for their orders of duties and for a Black man to be the king and a leader of his own country—a country that hasn’t been touched by colonization—to me is just the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae.”

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Although he’s quite the Black Panther fan, don’t expect to see the Star Wars star auditioning for a part in the sequel.

“I’m not worthy. I’ll leave that be. They’re already doing a fantastic job. They don’t need me.”

And while John Boyega is a bonafide star in his own right, there was a time when he drew inspiration from another British thespian.

“Idris Elba is a shining example of us black Brits who went off and made a big name for himself. Once everyone found out, a young Daniel Kaluuya, a young Letitia Wright, and a young John Boyega felt like, if he can go there and be a success, we’re gonna do that too,” he explained.

Boyega is proudly referring to a couple of Black Panther stars who happened to attend London’s Identity School of Acting at the same time he did.

‘Black Panther’ breakout Letitia Wright on Princess Shuri, battling depression and finding God

“Letitia and I were in the same class. It was so special for me to see her in the film because I have seen Letitia from when we both had nothing, had no credibility, and wanted our chance. We would sit and after classes, everybody would congregate at a nearby McDonald’s and I remember seeing Letitia and we would speak about our dreams and our visions,” Boyega explained.

“We would speak about our spirituality, our relationship with God, prayer, and various other things. We knew something was cooking. We knew there was a group of people that were gonna come out of there and really do it. It felt like this group of people might just be the example and prove the success is real. We all did that and it’s just mad. It’s crazy for us all.”

Now that both Brits have made it big in the States, they’re happy to celebrate each other’s successes.

“I felt Letitia was the best thing in Black Panther. She was fantastic. Every time she came onto the screen, my heart was uplifted,” he said. “Even the fight where Killmonger defeated her brother, T’Challa, it was seen through her eyes and the loss of her brother. For me, she conveyed all of that so well. Plus, she’s swaggy with it. She has that swag.”

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Wright has spoken candidly about her struggle with depression and how much her faith has helped her get through it. Like Wright, John Boyega credits his spirituality for much of his success.

“I grew up as a minister’s son and was systematically religious in the beginning. I was religious because that was all I knew. I let it go and had my own spiritual experiences and came on back. When I did that, my life and my outlook changed,” he revealed.

“I’m still a work in progress but I have a fundamental blueprint for the kind of man I want to be and it was through that process of being in acting school with those people who had spiritual awareness and weren’t afraid to say it.”

Pacific Rim Uprising hits theaters March 23.