John Boyega is determined to bring more African stories to a mainstream audience.
The 26-year-old actor – who is best known for playing Finn in the ‘Star Wars’ movies – founded his production company Upper Room Entertainment in 2015, and his long-term ambition to help tell more stories from Africa. He said: “My goal was to create original stories and I wanted to be a part of the development of stories.”
The London-born actor is the son of British-Nigerian parents, and John hopes that through his company, he’ll be able to train up young Nigerian talent.
He told CNN: “We will have Nigerian people, young people present on set, shadowing those professionals so that they’re constantly learning and knowing what skills they need to learn.
“And it’s not just acting, it’s cinematography, it’s all the basics of the crew that matter … those are the fundamental big plans.”
This comes shortly after Hollywood star Samuel L. Jackson revealed he doubts whether the success of ‘Black Panther’ will lead to long-term changes in the movie business.
The acclaimed Marvel movie has led to calls for more films to be led by black actors and actresses, but he doesn’t think it will ultimately have the impact some fans have suggested. Jackson explained: “I’m not positive that ‘Black Panther’ is going to change the dynamic of black stories being told in Hollywood and being accepted all over the world.
“It’s an action-adventure story and a lot of people like those, and they’ll work all over the world forever because everybody loves a hero. But not everybody loves a drama about somebody’s life experience – that’s why awards have a separate category for foreign films; they are perceived as being different. Once we stop perceiving them as different and just see them as good films and they get recognised in the same category, we’ll be laying markers.”