John Boyega put the same effort into filming Star Wars as he did making hard-hitting new movie Detroit.
The British actor stars in Kathryn Bigelow’s new movie telling the story of the Algiers Motel Incident, when police officers killed three black teenagers and beat nine others during riots in Detroit, Michigan in 1967.
John has also been filming the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi, and said making a family-friendly science-fiction blockbuster requires the same intensity from an actor as a serious dramatic role.
“It’s the same kind of commitment that you need for a Star Wars that you would need for a Detroit,” he explained to HeyUGuys.com at a press conference promoting Detroit in London.
One reason the 25-year-old star gives for taking his role as rogue stormtrooper Finn in Star Wars so seriously is that he believes science fiction can make important points about contemporary social issues.
“With sci-fi, the best sci-fi does have social commentary so there still is that mentality that you bring to each project, but for me there’s a consistency in work ethic and I do not work below it and that is something that is serious with each project that I do,” he shared.
In Detroit, John plays Melvin Dismukes, an African American who tried to intercede between the police and the occupants of the Algiers Motel, but ended up on trial with three officers over his part in the incident and was shunned by his community.
The actor met Melvin while researching his role, and worked hard to ensure his portrayal did justice to the real man.
He said the part had required “a lot of research, and a lot of knowing the facts” to accurately portray Melvin’s part in the incident.
Detroit debuted in cinemas on 4 August (17), while Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released in December.