I’m so happy writing this, our fellow Nigerian brother, John Boyega who played the role of Ugwu (Odenigbo’s houseboy) in ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ is the lead actor in the upcoming Star Wars Film titled “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.” Boyega was born in London on 17 March 1992 to Nigerian parents Samson and Abigail Boyega and started his acting career at age 5 as a Leopard in a play at his primary school. His father is a Pastor and wanted him to become same but his talent in acting was so evident that he was given a scholarship to attend a drama school for talented kids, He went to South Thames College and studied Performing Arts.
He began appearing in movies in 2011 debuting in Attack the Block, other movies he starred in are JunkHearts, Half of a Yellow Sun, Imperial Dreams and The Circle. He has also starred in some series films such as; Da Brick, Becoming Human, Law & Order: UK, My Murder, The Whale, 24: Live Another Day and Major Lazer.
Boyega plays Finn in the Star Wars movie which will be released in December. One of Boyega’s most cherished possessions is his orange-and-black-striped cat named ‘Oluwalogan’ meaning ‘God is Big’ which he got after he was done acting in ‘Star Wars’. His hobbies are working out, playing video games and collecting action figures
The 23 year old actor had this to say about the movie “Sci-fi over the years has had a way of commenting on social issues, but without being preachy…, Star Wars’ was built on mythical stories, spirituality and also the classic good-versus-evil. But also, for me, is the understanding of human beings…I just love the human commentary.” His favourite moment in the Star Wars movie shoot was the scene where he was in Abu Dhabi in the desert in full Stormtrooper gear, standing next to a crashed TIE fighter.
Boyega’s casting was not without problems, some twitter users made negative remarks and questioned Disney’s decision to cast a black man in the leading role and some even threatened to boycott the movie. Boyega responded to all his haters saying “Get used to it.”
Boyega won the Black Reel Award for Best Actor for his role as Moses in Attack the Block in 2011, he was also chosen by Screen International’s Fionnuala Halligan as one of the “UK Stars of Tomorrow 2011”. He has also been nominated for several awards notable among them are Black Reel Award for Best Breakthrough Performance, Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble, British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer, Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer, Evening Standard British Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer and London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Young British Performer of the Year.
He is also a character in Disney’s upcoming video game called ‘Infinity’ based on the Star Wars movie and he portrays ’Finn’ which is the character he plays in the movie. About the game, he said”I had a great time doing the voiceover for Finn for “Disney’s Infinity”. The great thing about him is that you get to bring the same spirit of a character I helped create to the gaming world. For me, that is so weird, because I love games. To see myself in that format, it’s just ridiculous. I can’t even say it’s a dream come true. It’s more like an altered reality. It’s like, seriously, did I just end up in a video game? I mean, you want to be in movies, but then you end up in a video game. It’s crazy.”