Disney provided me with an expense paid trip to Los Angeles for the #StarWarsEvent in exchange for my coverage of the events of the trip. No other compensation was given. All opinions, experiences, memories and character crushes are 100% my own.
Only 3 more days until STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS hits theaters! This week I will be sharing my exclusive cast interviews, so if you are a STAR WARS fan, stay tuned for some exciting coverage!
Today, I’m sharing my interview with John Boyega. John plays Finn in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS and as you will see from this exclusive John Boyega interview, Finn is going to be a very popular and exciting character.
From the moment that he walked in the room, John was all smiles and laughs. He’s a very handsome young guy with the hugest smile that you have ever seen. I enjoyed his interaction and I really can’t wait to see him in this role. I love that he appreciates his opportunity to play Finn in this sure to be hit movie, and I have no doubt that we will see great things from this young actor moving forward. He has a wonderful accent that I could listen to all day, and as you will see below, this kid is quite entertaining!
I think you will enjoy these bits and pieces from our conversations.
John Boyega on being in costume
When John was asked what it was like to put on that Stormtrooper costume for the first time, he put on a huge grin and answered:
I did like the way my glutes looked. It was a good experience, I mean, because something like that kind of makes it so real that you’re involved in this universe. I mean, when you put on the costume, it’s the final kind of step of becoming a character. You put on the costume, and you see yourself as a character that isn’t you, and so that is something that was quite profound.
“ You put on the costume, and you see yourself as a character that isn’t you, and so that is something that was quite profound.” ~John Boyega
When asked what is was like to get to use the lightsabers for the first time, John got almost giddy.
That was a good day! In the ruins – in the castle, and there are these kids who actually make the technology for the lightsabers; they’re quite young. And so they they brought it in this black case, opened the case, I picked up the lightsaber, and you know, they were just looking at me and you can see how, you know, holding the lightsaber, how that captures the imagination of onlookers and I was definitely egotistical that day.
We then asked John if got to keep his lightsaber?
No. But what I am gonna do is go back and write a long list- the Stormtrooper helmet, the rebel jacket, the leather jacket, and the saber, that’s what I’m gonna go back and get.
On being a part of the Star Wars franchise
It feels really cool and quite weird at the time. You don’t think about all of those specifics when you’re auditioning because it’s all about booking the part, and then also, you don’t think about that while you’re filming because it’s about the reality of the scenes. But the characters don’t know that they’re in Star Wars movie that will change people’s lives. So they’re in their reality.
But I remember being with my driver in the UK when we’re going to set, and he was just like, “You know what, mate? When you die, you’re not gonna be really dead because you’re gonna be everywhere anyway.” And I just thought, oh yeah, that’s an interesting thought. And so it’s quite surprising to be a part of that.
What was the first thing that you did when you found out that you actually got the part?
It was in a café with J.J. and Larry Kasdan, and he told me face-to-face. I thought he was going to tell me I didn’t get the part because J.J.’s that nice. I’d auditioned for seven months, and I feel like if he was going to tell me it didn’t go my way, he would’ve invited me to a dinner and just go, you know what? At least you get a free meal.
But, you know, it worked out well and I told my agent who I’ve known since I was sixteen, and then randomly told a taxi driver. I was like, “you know what? I’ve just been cast in the new Star Wars!” and he said, “All right, mate.”
Did you celebrate, then?
I didn’t really celebrate. I don’t drink. So everybody else was drinking around me, and I was like, hey, great. But literally the next day, we started training, and I was released into a world of work.
About Action Figures
Let’s just say that I went into The Disney Store and when I came out, there was nothing left.
Preparing for the part
When asked what kind of prep went into his role, John explained that most of his training was for the physical requirements of his character.
Hand-to-hand combat so, specifically me and Adam (Driver – Kylo Ren) had to do the choreograph scenes together. And Finn has a lot of shooting, running, especially with me and Rey. Me and Daisy had to get our cardiovascular skills up, and that was treacherous. But it was fun because now filming the scenes, you realize why the training was so intense because the scenes are literally, you know, practical effects on the real locations, so there’s no time to slack.
When asked about filming the explosion scenes, and whether or not he had a double, he laughed as he told us:
That was me. That was all me. That was all me, all right? I was fantastic. I mean, with explosions like that, there are health and safety regulations and all those things, but while we were on set, I didn’t think I expected them to be that big. And I just remember coming and saying, okay, John, we’re going to do this scene and, just run. Do the dialog. Have fun. Great. All right. Cameras; action. And I’m running, and I look at Daisy, and see that everyone’s backing up.
J.J.’s going further and further away. They put a plastic cloak over the camera; people putting goggles on and hats. I looked at Daisy like, why, how come we- and they called action, and then I realized, what? And if you watch the scene, I’m actually legit freaking out. I’m too young to die like this! But it was, it definitely fun- those scenes.
On how life has started to change…
Do you know what? It’s so strange. This process has been so gradual like. Yesterday night I took an Uber to movie theater to see Creed. I watched Creed; loved it; I was on the streets, shouting about with my boys on Hollywood Boulevard, and I went to a car show last night, and no one, no one, no one recognized me.
That’s going to change, But I’m enjoying it now, and I realize that my life is only different in terms of scheduling. I’m traveling a lot and I don’t get time to be at home as much as I want to. But, you know, I can pass through Times Square and see my beautiful face on the screen. But it’s really strange how that all works.
And I think that because I still move through public places, sometimes people recognize me, but they do this. Naw. All right, naw, that ain’t him. And you know, yeah, I’d like to see him holding a lightsaber- just, all right, naw, it’s not him. So for now, it’s gradual.
On his childhood Star Wars memories
I was more of a Han dude. I wasn’t really into Luke like that. It’s not because he wasn’t a good character. It’s just because I like the characters that represent human beings in these kind of projects. In sci-fi, if any of us were in the Star Wars universe, we wouldn’t be Luke. We wouldn’t be trying to, you know, fight against- naw, hell, naw. I’m trying to live, I’m trying to be Han. I’m trying to make money; I’m trying to survive.
And the only reason why I would be brave is to save my own life, alright? I’m not trying to do any of that stuff, and so those are the characters I really relate to, the Hans. I would, you know, do the whole blaster thing.
I saw the film a few years after the Phantom Menace came out. I was born in ’92, so I was exposed to the prequels first. And as a kid I didn’t really care about story and all that kind of stuff. I just saw that green guy doing acrobatics, so I was like yeah, hell yeah, turn it on, man. Turn it on. Turn it up. And I enjoyed watching it as a kid, and then when I was older, and I was more aware that I wanted to be an actor, and I liked story, I watched the originals and that just finished me. Apart from death and taxes, the part that I’m going to be a Star Wars fan for life is pretty much guaranteed.
“Apart from death and taxes, the part that I’m going to be a Star Wars fan for life is pretty much guaranteed.” ~John Boyega
I think that what’s so inspiring about Finn is how complex he is. He’s a Stormtrooper who has never really experienced individuality, and I think that we always know Stormtroopers to just be one unit, and we’ve never, ever had a Stormtrooper take off his helmet for us to see who he really is. All you’ve ever had is the lead characters in disguise, and for me, already I find that iconic to me as a fan, to be able to actually talk to one of those.
I always felt sorry for those Stormtroopers, man. It’s like they send them out just to be shot and, I’ve always wanted to say, man, you know what? There must be a different career for you, mate. Finn is the first Stormtrooper to actually go, you know what? I need a new job. So it’s really cool to experience, a Stormtrooper in that sense.
When asked to elaborate on the relationship between Finn and Poe he couldn’t say much but he did tell us:
When Finn escapes the First Order, he crosses paths with various different characters and Poe is one of them. They definitely have a brother relationship. Finn finds a friend in Poe, and Poe represents what Finn wants to be. Poe is very definite in his position of who he fights for, what side he’s on, and Finn is more in limbo.
Finn is kind of like, okay, I don’t want to fight with the Stormtroopers; I don’t wanna fight the resistance; I kind of want to get away, but I have to and Poe gives him a lot of clarity on who he is as a person.
When asked what he and Finn have in common, he laughed again and said:
I think I’m quite funny, to be honest with you.
But it was hard to channel Finn. For seven months I was auditioning for the part, and one of the reasons why I feel it was so long is because it’s really hard to channel the character without enough content. We weren’t allowed a script. We couldn’t take a script home. So I’m having to work with J.J. as if we’re playing one of those mime games, and you have to guess what he’s saying.
I’m like, okay, Finn is brave, and J.J.’s having to explain without giving away the whole story. So it has been a lot of me trying to find the extreme versions of myself along with obviously, a great script and making a fictional character.
“…we’ve never, ever had a Stormtrooper take off his helmet for us to see who he really is.” ~John Boyega
On what makes Star Wars Timeless
In my opinion, I just think it’s the continuous dialog between fans. Fans have the ability to make a whole press conference on probably two minutes worth of footage, like, who shot first? That was a few seconds. There’s a whole debate about that, and that keeps fans engaged even when the movies aren’t there. There’s only been six films, but if you look at the fandom, it reflects as if there’s been twenty.
I think it’s because there are different ways in which you can experience Star Wars. You don’t necessarily have to watch the films. You can just have the merchandise and just know it from there. So there’s several ways that you can be a Star Wars fan, and I think that’s different than any other property.
“There’s only been six films, but if you look at the fandom, it reflects as if there’s been twenty.” ~John Boyega
Describe Finn in 3 words
Conflicted; charismatic; temporary bravery.
Working with Harrison Ford
It’s so funny. Me and Harrison are obviously best friends. He would tell you that. We go way back. It’s ridiculous. And we formed a really interesting relationship that really has influenced the Finn and the Han relationship, because the first thing I said to Harrison when I met him- I walked up to him and he said, “hey, I’m Harrison Ford.” And I was like, “you look good, man.” He was like, “well, what did you expect?”
And from then, that influenced the way in which Finn sees Han. It’s like, oh man, yeah, gramps is cool. And Hans is kind of like, dude, I’m Han Solo, have respect. And there’s no respect whatsoever. But I think that Hans sees a young Han in Finn, and so they form this bond, and it’s going to be so hilarious when you see their duo, and the lack of respect for each other, but the undertone love that they have is- it’s pretty cool.
If John had a lightsaber…
You know what? My lightsaber would be rainbow colors so they’d know I was there. I’d be like, whooo! I’d be all over, switching, interchangeable, confuse them a little bit and flash modes, and disco mode. I’m about peace; I’m not, I’m not trying to get into fights with no one. I like to stay.
“I’m about peace; I’m not, I’m not trying to get into fights with no one. I like to stay.” ~John Boyega
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS in theaters December 18, 2015!
Can’t get enough of the STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS excitement? Check out my post from the STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS press junket which includes fun new merchandise photos, costumes, a BB-8 video and more!
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Trailer
Make sure to keep up with all of the latest STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS excitement!!
Follow STAR WARS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The STAR WARS:THE FORCE AWAKENS website is also an awesome resource for fans!
Photo credits to Disney and MomStart.com