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John Boyega talks experience with boatman in Calabar and racism on Star Wars set in interview with British GQ

For his latest interview with British GQ, John Boyega is speaking about his time on the Star Wars franchise and so much more. 

The actor and activist shared one particularly interesting experience from his time with a boatman in Calabar. Boyega was 20 at the time and had just made his movie debut in ‘Attack the Block’.

He had then returned to Nigeria to film the movie adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ where he played Ugwu.

Boyega told GQ that he was travelling by boat from the city of Calabar to Creek Town, where the production was holding. The trip was meant to last 45 minutes but halfway, the boatman turned off the engine, turned his attention to Boyega and said that he would have to pay more money if he wanted the trip to continue.

He said: “I felt very fearful, But I think it was the first time that I went into fight-or-flight mode and was just like, ‘OK, well, both of us are going to die today, then, because I’m definitely not going to back down.’

“I told him, ‘I’m going to pay you the money that’s owed, but we’ll both be dying in the sea here if you think I’m going out like this or that you can get more from me.”

The experience did not end in a confrontation, however, because the film’s production staff sent a different boat with AK 47-holding police officers to look for him after 15 minutes.

Boyega also discussed his experience while filming Star Wars, saying: “I was the only cast member whose experience of “Star Wars” was based on their race.”

Read the full interview on GQ. 

Simbiat studied Computer Science at the University of Lagos. She enjoys doing research and spends most of her time reading. She can be contacted at simbiat@sidomexuniversal.com.


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