Thursday 26 April 2018

John Boyega: Inclusion riders will redefine and reshape film industry

The actor has launched his own production company.

Pacific Rim Uprising Special Screening – London
Pacific Rim Uprising Special Screening – London

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Star Wars actor John Boyega has said inclusion riders that demand diversity on film sets will upend the “secret rules of Hollywood.”

The London-born star said it is “100% definitely important” top talent use their contracts to insist on the inclusion of women and people from minority backgrounds.

Boyega, who makes his producing debut on his new film Pacific Rim Uprising, said at a London screening of the blockbuster: “It’s fantastic, we are redefining and reshaping the industry and a lot of the secret rules of Hollywood are unfounded and not lawful and to include that makes our industry better.

“And those who wish to defy it, they are held accountable.”

Asked if the riders, touted by Frances McDormand in her acceptance speech at the Oscars, are important to him, he told the Press Association: “100%. Definitely important. The big thing is we are in a world and we want to reflect our world the way we see it and it would be good to expand the opportunities to those who otherwise won’t get it, as long as the talent is there.

“We should search out for these talented people within those environments and communities. I’m happy about that.”

Boyega launched Upper Room Productions in 2016 with British talent agent Femi Oguns, the founder of Identity Theatre School, and Boyega said it is important for him to take control of his own projects.

He said: “This is the first project for Upper Room and I’m very proud of it and the main reason is because as an actor I want to be involved in the process really really early on.

“You learn so much and producing has taught me so much about being an actor, My impact on a project, seeing it from another perspective, it’s something I would love to continue and I’ve loved doing it so far.”

Pacific Rim Uprising, a sequel to 2013’s Pacific Rim, sees Boyega star in another big budget franchise film, after the success of Star Wars movies The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi but he said he only signed on after meeting director Steven S DeKnight.

He said: “I don’t see it the way you see it, massive blockbuster franchises. It’s a film, there is a script, there is lines, there is work to do, and you only do it if it’s worth it.

“Films take such a long time and after meeting Steve and speaking to Steve and us having a similar kind of vision, I felt this is the one.”

Pacific Rim Uprising is released in UK cinemas on March 23.

Press Association

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment