John Boyega spoke with Vogue about his role in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." You can read the interview below. If you want to see all the pictures that went along with the original interview you can go here.
JOHN BOYEGA may not have registered on your cinematic radar this time last year - unless you caught the acclaimed British sci-fi comedy "Attack The Block" - but chances are he will now. As a rogue Stormtrooper in the new Star Wars movie, Boyega has already pricked the interest of BAFTA, not to mention won over legions of Star Wars fans for his funny and nuanced portrayal of unlikely hero Finn. We grabbed five minutes with the Peckham boy turned intergalactic rebel to talk spoilers, famous friends and driving to Wandsworth.
"It feels great, of course. Especially to be alongside the other amazing talents who are in the category. It's very flattering. I've been to BAFTA before actually, but it will be amazing to be there as a nominee. I've not prepared a speech or anything though, definitely not, it doesn't feel real at the moment."
We should say "spoiler alert" before this question, but is it a relief to finally be able to talk more openly about Star Wars: The Force Awakens - you've had months of interviews where you've had to be very secretive? Did you even tell your friends and family what happens?
"Yes, at last! Han Solo dies, OK? He dies. Phew. It feels good. But now, we just starting work on Star Wars VIII, the next film, so I'm back to keeping secrets again."
Your co-star Daisy Ridley has already praised how good the script is.
"It's great. Much darker, but we're very excited."
It's only been out for a few weeks, but Star Wars must have changed your life already - how are things different now, and how did it feel when you knew you had the part?
"When I found out I had the part, the overwhelming feeling was of relief. I'd been auditioning for seven months so it was just unbelievable to think, yes, finally I know for sure I'm going to be in this film. In terms of what's changed, my life back home in London is still pretty normal. I mostly drove everywhere around where I live even before I got that part, so that has meant my life just goes on as normal. I was in Wandsworth this morning."
And no one challenged you to a lightsaber duel?
"No, nothing. That's London."
You must've still had some pinch-yourself moments, when you've really realised how big the film is?
"Most of those happened on set. Working with Harrison Ford or just seeing where we were filming that day. I was a Star Wars fan before, so there were definitely a few moments that made me think: 'Wow.'"
You've been praised by Star Wars fans as well as those less familiar with the franchise as the best thing in the film - how does it feel that you've been so universally applauded?
"It's nice, of course, when people appreciate any work you've done, but one minute you're great and the next the next they can be saying you're the worst thing that's ever happened to Star Wars, so I'm not planning on letting it go to my head. Although this franchise is such a massive thing, I've tried my best to approach it as I approach any other job: do the best I can and just focus on the work."
A lot of viewers didn't realise you were British until afterwards - how did you get the accent right?
"It's not the first film that I've had an American accent in, so I have had some practice, but it's definitely something I worked hard on and really wanted it to feel natural. So that's good if it worked."
Your scenes are very energetic - did you have to train extensively to get in shape for the part, or you were already lightsaber-ready?
"No, for this film we really just took it scene by scene, there wasn't a huge regime. My part in the next film will be much more physical so I might be in the gym a bit more."
Harrison Ford was full of compliments for you - saying "He is going to have a wonderful career" - how does that feel? And what was it like to work with him?
"Harrison is great to work with. It's hard not to admire him, not just as an actor but as a man. He's built an incredible career and being on set with him and learning from him is brilliant. Our characters had quite a lot of scenes together so it worked well that we had a good rapport."
Robert Downey Jnr has become something of a mentor to you - how did you meet him and how has this friendship helped you?
"We've never worked together but the industry is pretty small. I have lots of people around me who've supported and helped me so much and I'm very fortunate that Rob has been one of them."
In fashion, Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of Balmain, has spoken about the responsibility he feels as the only young black man at the helm of a major French house - do you feel the same responsibility taking on the lead role in such a famous franchise?
"I think that's very true for a lot of people, but I just approached the role as I approach any role. As any actor approaches a role. It's an awesome responsibility, of course, I'm only 23, but the less I think about that, the better I can do my job."