Recently, The Shadow League was in attendance for an exclusive press screening of the new sci-fi thriller Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel to the blockbuster film starring Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba. The viewing was followed by a talkback discussion moderated by Black Girl Nerds co-founder Jamie Broadnax, with burgeoning megastar John Boyega in attendance as the guest of honor.
Boyega, called the King of Blerds by Broadnax during the discussion, has created a niche for himself as most the recent black sci-fi star in a long tradition dating back to Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, and Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhuru. However, unlike the black sci-fi legends of yesteryear, Boyega is front and center as a pivotal lead character in each of the science fiction films he has appeared in. Attack of the Block, Stars Wars: The Last Jedi and now Pacific Rim: Uprising are all helping pave his legacy.
The original Pacific Rim earned $400 million at the box office, and there was quite a deal of pressure on Boyega, who also acted as producer, to come home with the goods.
John Boyega on the pressure of producing Pacific Rim
JB: I guess youre always fearful to be in a position where a certain amount of responsibility is given to you. But I realized that Im a great communicator, much more than I thought I was especially working in a group. On this kind of project, communications are key because there are so many different departments. Also, this was a step up for me in terms of work ethic. Ive never had to work this hard before.
It’s a safe bet to say that things can get a little dizzying when youre on the fast track to stardom, and thats why it helps to have people around that care to help an one keep a level head when the world is suddenly turned on its ear.
Jamie Broadnax: Our man Tony Stark had a conversation with you. Robert Downey Jr. called you up and gave you some advice about being in the entertainment industry. Could you talk about that story?
JB: It was right before episode seven came out and I had just been getting into this Hollywood scene stuff, going to industry events. Robert Downey Jr just struck me as someone who I always wanted to meet. And, to be realistic, if you want advice from someone in the industry you want it from someone who has been at the lowest point and has been able to work himself right back. I just wanted someone to be real with me. Like, what does this really mean? We had a conversation and he told me You know what? There are generic things that I can advise you on but a lot of that will be your own experience. Its just about keeping friends and family close, keeping good spirits and keeping positive. We had a good, lengthy conversation about it.
Pacific Rim Uprising – In Theaters, RealD 3D and IMAX March 23 Official Trailer 2 – http://www.pacificrimmovie.com The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity in Pacific Rim Uprising.
Although Attack the Block, Star Wars and Pacific Rim are making him a favorite among demographics who cater to that fare, Boyega told the attendees he was inspired by his role in Detroit to take up different kinds of roles.
JB: I havent done a full comedy before. Id do that. But I also I havent been in love on screen.
Jamie: What about the relationship between you and Rey in Star Wars?
JB: Thats not the type of love Im talking about. Im talking about the type of love in Love and Basketball. Im talking about the type of love where when you as the audience is watching thinking Woo, I remember when I felt that way. I havent done one of those yet, and Id love to with a great female lead.
Audience member: Who would be your lead?
JB: Lupita, of course!
Pacific Rim: Uprising opens in theaters Friday, March 23. Starring John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Charlie Day and Cailee Spaeny, the film picks up in the peace that was fought for in the original, but the enemy has been waiting, planning and hiding in plain sight.