Actor John Boyega is opening up about his time auditioning for “Star Wars.”
Although his first breakthrough role came as Moses in 2011’s “Attack the Block,” Boyega has gone on to win a BAFTA in 2016 and, more recently, a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Small Axe.”
Although Boyega received international recognition for his role as Finn in 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” he found his role reduced in “The Last Jedi,” and by the time “The Rise of Skywalker” rolled around, Boyega seemed like more of a supporting character than a man who was once called “the new star of ‘Star Wars.'”
In a new “Star Wars” book titled “The Galaxy’s Greatest Heroes,” Boyega and his castmates open up about what it was like to bring the characters of one of the most popular franchises in history to life.
John Boyega Opens Up About The ‘Star Wars’ Audition Process
In an excerpt from the book, Boyega reveals that “I got a call about the auditions for Star Wars and my agent told me that J.J. Abrams wanted to meet with me and put me on tape for the role.”
He added that “I didn’t know what part I was going up for and I hadn’t read the script, so I took a train into central London, met J.J., spoke about the role, and then did the scenes.”
“It was two scenes,” he continued. “I practiced it a few times, and then we put it on tape.”
He described the experience as “nerve-wracking knowing that it was Star Wars, but not knowing the specifics of the part.”
“After that, it was recall after recall, then a screen test with Chewbacca came, which was exciting,” he continued. “Then, I got the call to say that I had got the part, and that was after seven months of extreme auditioning!”
John Boyega Was Supposed To Play The ‘Male Leading Role’
Although Adam Driver was a stand-out for his performance as Kylo Ren and the redeemed Ben Solo, it was really Finn who was supposed to play the “male leading role.”
“From the get-go, they specified that it was a male leading role,” he explained. “Star Wars is an ensemble cast, so we have lots of leads that create the narrative, and I didn’t know that Finn was so central to the story. I only found that out halfway through the audition process when J.J. said, ‘You’re the guy. You know that, right?’ I was like, ‘Ahh! Okay, it’s time to get the acting chops together and do something!'”
“Prior to getting the part, I had been at a premiere for another film I had done, and my mind was definitely more fixated on whether I’d receive the part or not,” he recalled. “I remember being on the red carpet and it had leaked that I was up for the Star Wars part. So, there were various media outlets asking if I was up for Star Wars.”
“I said, ‘I haven’t heard anything, but if J.J. Abrams wants me to be in Star Wars, that would be amazing.’ The next day, I got an email from J.J. asking where I was,” he went on. “I told him I was at home and he asked if I could get to a little café in Mayfair, London.”
“I hopped in a cab, drove down, and saw J.J. in the café by himself, drinking a cup of tea,” he recalled. “We had a brief conversation and he asked me whether I was ready. He asked me if would be interested in working out and training, both as an actor and physically. He asked me if I realized how big the responsibility would be. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll be fine. I’ll do anything.’ Then, he told me I was the new star in Star Wars.”
“Everything stopped,” he recalled. “I noticed everything. I noticed how many sugar cubes were in this little cup on the table. All the time it was going through my head, he just said I’m the new star in Star Wars. I was willing myself to breathe.”
“Then J.J. raised a cup of water and said, ‘Congratulations.’ I was ecstatic. It was probably the happiest day of my life,” he added.
“I walked all around London just in a dreamland,” he shared. “This felt different. I’ve received calls for roles that I fought for before, but this not only felt like a triumph for me as an actor, but a day that felt like I was a part of history, and that just made me really, really happy.”
Although his time in the Skywalker Saga may have come to an end, “Star Wars” fans are hoping that Boyega may someday reprise his role as Finn in a future Disney+ series… if he’s not too busy filming “Attack the Block 2” that is!