Film , Interviews

John Boyega Revisits Working With Michael K. Williams On 'Breaking' And Reveals How He Selects His Roles Post-'Star Wars'

The new film Breaking, starring John Boyega and Nicole Beharie, also features the final film performance of Michael K. Williams. In the true-story-based film, when Marine Veteran Brian Brown-Easley “is denied support from Veterans Affairs, financially desperate and running out of options, he takes a bank and several of its employees hostage, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with the police.”

In a recent interview with Shadow and Act, Boyega opened up about hoping that the film sparks a conversation not only about mental health awareness, but about how we treat each other in society.

“Dramatized content, specifically movies, can live in a moral space for sure, and [it] sparks everybody to have the right type of conversations on what we could do to make change,” he told us. “But I think more so it’s about the kind of like exploration of empathy and how it changes with different circumstances, especially with this, where just so complicated. We’ve got [someone] kind of forced to a very tight spot and then makes a very extreme choice. How do we maneuver those complications? For me, that is of interest, but I hope the right conversations [are held].”

The actor also revisited working on the film with Williams and a conversation he had with him on the heels of his impassioned plea after the death of George Floyd.

Boyega explained, “I remember when we were just speaking outside my trailer and he was just talking about basically the situation and circumstance that I’ve spoken out about publicly [with Black Lives Matter]. And he was just saying, ‘I fuck with you, man [laughs]. I saw that I was just like, Yeah, you’re a real dude’ And that for me, [that] in itself kind of made me feel especially safe when you’re meeting in the professionals who come in and basically give you that word of support, saying, ‘We hear your circumstance, we hear your perspective. And your heard.’

Boyega has three major films out this year with 'Breaking,' 'The Woman King' and 'They Cloned Tyrone'-- all three varied projects that are vastly different on all fronts.

The actor says he is seeking out these sorts of roles on purpose, and seems to be doing so after his Star Wars stint.

“I think sometimes the problem is where you’re in projects like [a] long-standing or franchise-type project, the audience can lose sight on what you could possibly do, and casting directors tend to keep you in a box,” he said. “And in order for that not to happen especially, after something so powerful and that kind of like the creme de la creme of our business [like Star Wars], I just decided to go for three projects that were unrecognizable if you just literally put them side by side, and then it just gives me as an actor the opportunity to transform each role.”

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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