John Boyega says talking about racial inequality in Star Wars led to ‘honest and transparent’ conversation with Disney

‘There was a lot of explaining on their end in terms of the way they saw things,’ actor recalled

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 03 November 2020 10:31
John Boyega makes impassioned speech at George Floyd protest in Hyde Park

John Boyega says that he spoke out about his experience of racial inequality in the Star Wars franchise in the hope that it would open doors for others.

In September, the British actor – who played Finn in Disney’s sequel trilogy – criticised the franchise and claimed that white characters were given more nuance and attention than his or Asian-American actor Kelly Marie Tran’s character.

“What I would say to Disney is: do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side,” he said. “It’s not good.”

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Boyega has revealed that he was contacted by a Disney executive after his comments were published, with the pair engaging in a “very honest, very transparent conversation”.

“There was a lot of explaining on their end in terms of the way they saw things,” the 28-year-old explained. “They gave me a chance also to explain what my experience was like.”

‘They gave me a chance also to explain what my experience was like’

Speaking about his decision to directly call out Disney, Boyega said that he hoped him using his platform at the peak of his career would cause other people in the industry to have an “honest and open conversation”.

“I've been in situations in life in which I know what it feels like to have your life at risk. There are deeper things going on here. I don't care about trying to mesh in with the system in order to secretly work it,” he said.

“I'd hope that me being so open with my career, at this stage, would help the next man, the guy that wants to be the assistant DOP, the guy that wants to be a producer. I hope that the conversation is not such a taboo or elephant in the room now, because someone just came and said it.”

In June, Boyega gave an emotional speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London, telling the crowds: “Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f*** that.”

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