John Adedayo Bamidele Adegboyega
17 March 1992
|Alma mater||University of Greenwich|
John Adedayo Bamidele Adegboyega (born 17 March 1992), known professionally as John Boyega, is a British-Nigerian actor and producer. He first rose to prominence in his native Britain for his role as Moses in the sci-fi comedy film Attack the Block (2011), and his international breakthrough came with his role as Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy films The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
His other credits include the drama film Imperial Dreams (2014), the historical drama film Detroit (2017), the science fiction film Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018), and four episodes of the television series 24: Live Another Day. He received the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2016, and was awarded the Trophée Chopard at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Boyega was cited as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2020.
Boyega portrayed Leroy Logan in the 3rd episode of Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe (2020), for his performance he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film and the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries.
John Adedayo Bamidele Adegboyega was born on 17 March 1992 in the Peckham district of London, to Abigail (née Aboderin), who works with disabled people, and Samson Adegboyega, a Pentecostal minister. He has two older sisters. His parents are both of Nigerian descent. His first acting role was as a leopard in a play while at Oliver Goldsmith Primary School. While acting in another play there at age nine, he was noticed by Teresa Early, the artistic director of Theatre Peckham, a learning theatre for young people who live in south London. He spent his time there outside school hours from ages nine to 14. His father wanted Boyega to become a minister like himself, but was nonetheless supportive of his theatrical interests. Boyega and his sister Grace were among the last people to see Damilola Taylor alive: they were friends and the Boyegas helped watch him.
In 2003, Boyega started his secondary education at Westminster City School, where he took part in various school productions. From 2008 to 2010, he attended South Thames College at the college's Wandsworth campus to study for a National Diploma in Performing Arts. His activities at the college included playing the title role in the college's production of Othello. He enrolled at the University of Greenwich to study for a BA in film studies and media writing, but dropped out to focus on acting. He trained with the Identity School of Acting in London, and became a patron of its Los Angeles branch when it opened in 2018.
Boyega trained at the Identity School of Acting in Hackney, and appeared in Six Parties at the National Theatre and Category B at the Tricycle Theatre prior to being offered a role in the 2011 film Attack the Block. In September 2011, HBO announced that Boyega had been cast in the boxing drama pilot Da Brick, loosely based on Mike Tyson's life. Boyega was expected to play Donnie, who is released from a juvenile detention centre on his 18th birthday and begins to examine what it means to be a man. The pilot was written by John Ridley, but was not picked up by HBO. Also in 2011, he acted in the film Junkhearts in which he portrayed Jamal, a drug dealer who finds some guns and tries to sell them.
Boyega was chosen by Fionnuala Halligan of Screen International as one of the "UK Stars of Tomorrow 2011" and appeared alongside two other actors on the front cover of that magazine in its July 2011 edition. In March 2012, Boyega was cast in the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's book Half of a Yellow Sun. On 29 April 2014, it was confirmed that Boyega had been cast as a major character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was later revealed Boyega would play Finn, a stormtrooper for the First Order, who leaves the military power after witnessing their cruelty in his first combat mission before joining the fight against them. The film was released on 18 December 2015. Both the film and Boyega's performance received acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
In January 2016, Boyega formed his own production company, Upperroom Entertainment Limited. His company co-produced Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018), the sequel to the 2013 movie Pacific Rim, alongside Legendary Entertainment. Boyega also starred in the lead role of the film, Jake Pentecost. In 2019 John teased his new collaboration with Writer/Director Sebastian Thiel. The two are in development of a series based on their childhood experiences, which Boyega will be producing 
In November 2018 it was announced that Boyega would be starring alongside Letitia Wright in a novel adaption of Hold Back the Stars. Boyega has also been cast in Steve McQueen's miniseries Small Axe.
In 2018, Boyega subsequently reprised his role as Finn in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, released in 2019. In an interview on Good Morning America, Boyega revealed that he had accidentally left his script in a hotel room during filming. The script subsequently surfaced on eBay but was bought by a Lucasfilm employee to prevent it from being leaked.
In response to a tweet suggesting he should play the DC Comics character Static in a live-action role, Boyega suggested that he would be too old to star in the role and that he would be interested in seeing a newcomer cast as the character, while himself expressing interest in playing the DC character of Red Hood.
In the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Powerlist, Boyega was listed in the Top 100 of the most influential people in the UK of African/African-Caribbean descent. More recently, his production company UpperRoom set a first look deal with VIS Kids.
Activism and advocacy
Boyega has shown solidarity with George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and Stephen Lawrence during a speech at a Black Lives Matter rally in Hyde Park, London. His action was praised by a number of celebrities, Lucasfilm also reiterated their support for Boyega and the Black Lives Matter movement.
In a 2020 interview with British GQ, Boyega openly criticised Disney over the sidelining of his character Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy by commenting, "[W]hat I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It's not good. I'll say it straight up." Boyega is also a teetotaller.
|2011||Attack the Block||Moses||Joe Cornish|
|2013||Half of a Yellow Sun||Ugwu||Biyi Bandele|
|2014||Imperial Dreams||Bambi||Malik Vitthal|
|2015||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||FN-2187 / Finn||J. J. Abrams|
|2017||The Circle||Ty||James Ponsoldt|
|Detroit||Melvin Dismukes||Kathryn Bigelow|
|Star Wars: The Last Jedi||Finn||Rian Johnson|
|2018||Pacific Rim: Uprising||Jake Pentecost||Steven S. DeKnight||Also producer|
|2019||Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker||Finn||J.J. Abrams|
|2021||Naked Singularity||Casi||Chase Palmer|||
|TBA||They Cloned Tyrone||Fontaine||Juel Taylor||Post-production|
|TBA||Rebel Ridge||Jeremy Saulnier||Filming|
|Becoming Human||Danny Curtis||4 episodes|
|Law & Order: UK||Jamal Clarkson||Episode: "Survivor's Guilt"|
|2012||My Murder||Shakilus Townsend||Television film|
|2013||The Whale||William Bond|
|2014||24: Live Another Day||Chris Tanner||4 episodes|
|2015||Major Lazer||Blkmrkt||Voice; 10 episodes|
|Saturday Night Live||Himself||Segment: "Star Wars Auditions"|
|2016||Tinkershrimp & Dutch||Dutch||Voice; 5 episodes|
|2017–18||Star Wars Forces of Destiny||Finn||Voice; 2 episodes|
|2018||Watership Down||Bigwig||Voice; 4 episodes|
|2019||Serengeti||Narrator||Voice; 5 episodes|
|2020||Small Axe||Leroy Logan||Episode: "Red, White and Blue"|
|2009||Six Parties||Ben||National Theatre, London|||
|Category B||Reece||Kiln Theatre, London|||
|Seize the Day||Sam|||
|2009||Detaining Justice||Guard / Passer-by|||
|2017||Woyzeck||Woyzeck||The Old Vic, London|||
|2015||Disney Infinity 3.0||Finn||Voice|
|2016||Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens||Finn||Voice|
|2017||Star Wars Battlefront II||Finn||Voice|
Theme park attractions
|2015||Star Tours – The Adventures Continue||Finn||Scene added for seasonal Season of the Force promotion|
|2019||Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance||Disney's Hollywood Studios|
Awards and recognition
- "John Boyega opens up about 'Star Wars' experince, highlights limits of representation". The Daily Targum. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
- "Hollywood Actor John Boyega plans N8 billion Nollywood movie". Premium Times. 4 April 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
- "John Boyega represents Nigeria at Star Wars premiere". Vanguard News. 19 December 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
- "John Boyega calls out Disney over treatment of non-white actors in Star Wars". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
- "Kenyan Diaspora Madowo named among top 100 most influential Africans". Diaspora Messenger News Media. 7 December 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- Itzkoff, Dave (22 July 2011). "John Boyega in Joe Cornish's 'Attack the Block'". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- Hattenstone, Simon (10 March 2018). "John Boyega: 'I'm very direct. I can't lie'". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
- Okoroafor, Cynthia (17 December 2015). "Star Wars opens today, and star Nigerian John Boyega is stealing the spotlight". VENTURES AFRICA. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- "The Attack of John Boyega". Interview. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Brown, Emma (28 January 2014). "John Boyega: The Best of Next". Interview. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
- Palmer, Jim (8 December 2015). "Everything you need to know about John Boyega – from Peckham to Wandsworth to Greenwich to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens". News Shopper. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- Turner, Camilla (24 April 2015). "Star Wars: John Boyega, the boy from Peckham who stormed Hollywood". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- Turner, Camilla (25 April 2015). "Star Wars: Five things you didn't know about John Boyega". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- "Theatre Peckham". Theatre Peckham. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- "Star Wars' John Boyega was one of last people to see Damilola Taylor alive, says father". The Guardian. Press Association. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
- "Memorable OWCs". Old Westminster Citizens' Association. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- "From South Thames to Star Wars: college star lands role in a Galaxy Far Far Away". South Thames College. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- "Back to college for Star Wars actor". South Thames College. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- "The Force is strong with Greenwich". University of Greenwich. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- Wiseman, Andreas (20 September 2018). "John Boyega, Letitia Wright & Damson Idris Among Patrons Of New LA Drama School". Deadline. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
- "Hall of Fame". identitydramaschool.com. 2012. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- "Attack the Block feature item". dvd365.net. 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- Yamato, Jen (1 August 2011). "Attack the Block's John Boyega on Going 'From Hoodie to Hero,' and Taking Hollywood by Storm". Movieline. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Wightman, Catriona (1 September 2011). "John Boyega to star in Mike Tyson, Spike Lee HBO pilot 'Da Brick' – US TV News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Jeffery, Morgan (14 March 2012). "'Da Brick': HBO passes on Mike Tyson boxing drama – US TV News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Stars of Tomorrow 2011". Screen Daily. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- Pearson, Ben (29 March 2012). "Attack the Block star John Boyega joins Half of a Yellow Sun". Filmonic. Archived from the original on 28 May 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Star Wars: Episode VII Cast Announced". StarWars.com. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- Bradshaw, Peter. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens review – 'a spectacular homecoming'". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- McWeeny, Drew (16 December 2015). "Review: JJ Abrams breathes new life into 'Star Wars' with 'The Force Awakens'". HitFix. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- Cohen, Sandy (15 December 2017). "John Boyega talks 'Last Jedi,' personal parallels". The Advocate. Associated Press.
- @JohnBoyega (6 June 2016). "So happy! My company UpperRoom Productions founded by myself & @MrFemiOguns, will co-produce #PacificRim2 alongside @Legendary" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Fleming, Mike (6 June 2016). "'Star Wars' Star John Boyega Takes Lead In 'Pacific Rim' Sequel". Deadline. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- "John Boyega talks Pacific Rim Uprising, the future of Star Wars and his issues with buses". Time Out London. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- "Actor John Boyega". Viceland. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- Galuppo, Mia (8 November 2018). "John Boyega, Letitia Wright to Star in Sci-Fi Love Story 'Hold Back the Stars'". Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- Clarke, Stewart (26 June 2019). "Letitia Wright, John Boyega to Star in Steve McQueen's Series 'Small Axe' (exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- McCarthy, Kelly (27 November 2019). "Actor John Boyega admits 'Star Wars' script on eBay was his". Good Morning America. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
- Alexander, Susannah (30 August 2020). "Star Wars' John Boyega reveals which DC character he wants to play". Digital Spy. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
- Mills, Kelly-Ann (25 October 2019). "Raheem Sterling joins Meghan and Stormzy in top 100 most influential black Brits". mirror. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
- Lavender, Jane (17 November 2020). "Lewis Hamilton ends incredible year top of influential Black Powerlist 2021". mirror. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- Ramachandran, Naman (23 February 2021). "John Boyega's UpperRoom Sets First Look Deal With ViacomCBS International's VIS Kids – Global Bulletin". Variety. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
- Ritman, Alex (3 June 2020). "John Boyega Delivers Impassioned Speech at London Black Lives Matter Protest". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 8 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
- Shoard, Catherin (4 June 2020). "John Boyega's rousing Black Lives Matter speech wins praise and support". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 June 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
- "Lucasfilm Stands with John Boyega". StarWars.com. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on 4 June 2020. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
- Famurewa, Jimi (3 September 2020). "John Boyega: 'I'm the only cast member whose experience of Star Wars was based on their race'". British GQ. Archived from the original on 22 October 2020. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
- Carras, Christi (2 September 2020). "John Boyega to Disney: Nonwhite 'Star Wars' characters were 'pushed to the side'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
- Komonibo, Ineye (3 September 2020). "John Boyega Is Finally Ready To Talk Star Wars & He's Not Holding Back". Refinery29. Archived from the original on 26 October 2020. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
- Olivia Cooke Joins John Boyega In Scott Free’s ‘Naked Singularity’
- "After Yang" (PDF). NYC Media & Production. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
- Sarah Deen (5 January 2016). "John Boyega joins Nickelodeon's Tinkershrimp & Dutch". Metro.co.uk.
- Errico, Marcus (3 July 2017). "New Star Wars Cartoon Shorts Debut Online, Bringing Female Heroes in Full Force". Yahoo!. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
- "Serengeti". BBC. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
- "Did the National Theatre's Connections festival change your life?". The Guardian. 16 May 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- "Not Black and White: Category B". Kiln Theatre. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- "Not Black and White: Seize the Day". Kiln Theatre. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- "Not Black and White: Detaining Justice". Kiln Theatre. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- "John Boyega to star in Woyzeck at the Old Vic Theatre". Tuppence Magazine. 18 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- BAFTA Editors (5 January 2016). "EE Rising Star Award in 2016". British Academy Film Awards. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- John Nugent (11 March 2016). "Jameson Empire Awards 2016: Star Wars and Mad Max lead the nominations". Empire Awards. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
- Georgia Film Critics Association Editors (4 January 2016). "Georgia Film Critics Association 2015 Awards". Georgia Film Critics Association. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- Lovett, Jamie (18 February 2016). "Kids' Choice Awards: Adele, Justin Bieber, 'Star Wars' Among Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- "Saturn Award nominations". Saturn Awards. 24 February 2016.
- "Saturn Award nominations on YouTube". Saturn Awards. 24 February 2016.
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