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John Boyega

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John Boyega
John Boyega by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Boyega at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con
John Adedayo B. Adegboyega

(1992-03-17) 17 March 1992 (age 27)
Alma materUniversity of Greenwich
Years active2011–present

John Adedayo B. Adegboyega (born 17 March 1992), known professionally as John Boyega, is an English actor known for playing Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy films, The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). Boyega rose to prominence in his native United Kingdom for his role as Moses in the 2011 sci-fi comedy film Attack the Block.

Boyega's other credits include historical drama film Detroit (2017), the science fiction film Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018), four episodes of the television series 24: Live Another Day and the drama Imperial Dreams (2014). Boyega received the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2016.

Early life

Boyega was born on 17 March 1992 in Peckham, London, England, to British Nigerian parents, Abigail (née Aboderin), who works with the disabled, and Samson Adegboyega, a Pentecostal minister.[1][2] His first role was a leopard in a play at his primary school.[3][4]

Boyega was a pupil at Oliver Goldsmith Primary School. While acting in a play there at the age of nine, he was noticed by Teresa Early, the artistic director of Theatre Peckham, a learning theatre for young people who live in south London. After he joined the theatre, he spent his time there outside school hours between the ages of nine and 14. Boyega's father, a preacher, had wanted Boyega to become a preacher too, but was supportive of his son's theatrical interests.[5][6][7][8]

In 2003, Boyega started his secondary education at Westminster City School, where he took part in various school productions.[9] Between 2008 and 2010, he attended South Thames College at the college's Wandsworth campus to study for a National Diploma in Performing Arts.[10] His activities at the college included playing the title role in the college's production of Othello.[11] He enrolled at the University of Greenwich to study BA Film Studies & Media Writing,[12] but dropped out to focus on acting.[6]


Sundance Film Festival, 2014: John Boyega (2nd from the left), together with Josh Wiggins, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Sharon Swart (from the left to the right)

Boyega trained at the Identity School of Acting in Hackney,[13] 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.[14][15] 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,[16] but was not picked up by HBO.[17] 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.[18] In March 2012, Boyega was cast in the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's book Half of a Yellow Sun.[19] On 29 April 2014, it was confirmed that Boyega had been cast as a lead character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[20] 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 both audiences and critics.[21][22]

In 2017, Boyega starred in Detroit, Kathryn Bigelow's film about the 1967 Detroit riots.[23] The same year, he reprised his role as Finn in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.[24]

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.[25] Boyega also starred in the lead role of the film, Jake Pentecost.[26]

In November 2018 it was announced that Boyega would be starring alongside Letitia Wright in a novel adaption of Hold Back The Stars.[27] Boyega has also been cast in Steve McQueen's upcoming mini-series Small Axe.[28]

In 2018, Boyega subsequently reprised his role as Finn in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, released in 2019. During an interview with Good Morning America, Boyega acknowledged 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 leakage.[29]



Year Title Role Director Notes
2011 Attack the Block Moses Joe Cornish Black Reel Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Nominated – Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer
Nominated – Evening Standard British Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Nominated – London Film Critics' Circle Award for Young British Performer of the Year
Junkhearts Jamal Tinge Krishnan
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 BAFTA Rising Star Award[30]
Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer[31]
Nominated – Georgia Film Critics Association for Best Ensemble[32]
Nominated – Golden Schmoes Award for Breakthrough Performance[33]
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Action Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated – Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actor[34]
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor[35][36]
2017 The Circle Ty James Ponsoldt
Detroit Melvin Dismukes Kathryn Bigelow
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Finn Rian Johnson Nominated – Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor – Sci-Fi/Fantasy
2018 Pacific Rim: Uprising Jake Pentecost Steven S. DeKnight Also producer
2019 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Finn J.J. Abrams
2020 Naked Singularity[37] TBA Chase Palmer Post-production[38]


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Da Brick Donnie Pilot
2011 Becoming Human Danny Curtis 4 episodes
2011 Law & Order: UK Jamal Clarkson Episode: "Survivor's Guilt"
2012 My Murder Shakilus Townsend Television film
2013 The Whale William Bond Television film
2014 24: Live Another Day Chris Tanner 4 episodes
2015 Major Lazer Blkmrkt (voice) 10 episodes
2015 Saturday Night Live Himself Segment: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens Screen Tests"
2016 Tinkershrimp & Dutch[39] Dutch (voice) 5 episodes
2017–2018 Star Wars Forces of Destiny Finn[40] 2 episodes
2018 Watership Down Bigwig (voice) 4 episodes
2019 Serengeti Narrator Documentary series[41]
TBA Small Axe TBA Mini-series, filming[28]


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Othello Othello South Thames College
2017 Woyzeck Woyzeck Old Vic Theatre[42]

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
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

Year Title Role Notes
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
2020 Disneyland


  1. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (22 July 2011). "John Boyega in Joe Cornish's 'Attack the Block'". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  2. ^ Okoroafor, Cynthia (17 December 2015). "Star Wars opens today, and star Nigerian John Boyega is stealing the spotlight". VENTURES AFRICA. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  3. ^ "The Attack of John Boyega". Interview. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  4. ^ Brown, Emma (28 January 2014). "John Boyega: The Best of Next". Interview. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b Turner, Camilla (24 April 2015). "Star Wars: John Boyega, the boy from Peckham who stormed Hollywood". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  7. ^ Turner, Camilla (25 April 2015). "Star Wars: Five things you didn't know about John Boyega". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Theatre Peckham". Theatre Peckham. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Memorable OWCs". Old Westminster Citizens' Association. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "Back to college for Star Wars actor". South Thames College. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  12. ^ "The Force is strong with Greenwich". University of Greenwich. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Hall of Fame". 2012. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Attack the Block feature item". 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (14 March 2012). "'Da Brick': HBO passes on Mike Tyson boxing drama – US TV News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  18. ^ "Stars of Tomorrow 2011". Screen Daily. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ "Star Wars: Episode VII Cast Announced". 29 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  21. ^ Bradshaw, Peter. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens review – 'a spectacular homecoming'". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  22. ^ McWeeny, Drew (16 December 2015). "Review: JJ Abrams breathes new life into 'Star Wars' with 'The Force Awakens'". HitFix. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ Cohen, Sandy (15 December 2017). "John Boyega talks 'Last Jedi,' personal parallels". The Advocate. Associated Press.
  25. ^ @JohnBoyega (6 June 2016). "So happy! My company UpperRoom Productions founded by myself & @MrFemiOguns, will co-produce #PacificRim2 alongside @Legendary" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Fleming, Mike (6 June 2016). "'Star Wars' Star John Boyega Takes Lead In 'Pacific Rim' Sequel". Deadline. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  27. ^ 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 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  28. ^ a b Clarke, Stewart (26 June 2019). "Letitia Wright, John Boyega to Star in Steve McQueen's Series 'Small Axe' (exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  29. ^ McCarthy, Kelly (27 November 2019). "Actor John Boyega admits 'Star Wars' script on eBay was his". Good Morning America. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  30. ^ BAFTA Editors (5 January 2016). "EE Rising Star Award in 2016". British Academy Film Awards. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  31. ^ John Nugent (11 March 2016). "Jameson Empire Awards 2016: Star Wars and Mad Max lead the nominations". Empire Awards. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  32. ^ Georgia Film Critics Association Editors (4 January 2016). "Georgia Film Critics Association 2015 Awards". Georgia Film Critics Association. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  33. ^ Berge Garabedian (8 January 2016). "Golden Schmoes 2015 Awards". Golden Schmoes. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  34. ^ Lovett, Jamie (18 February 2016). "Kids' Choice Awards: Adele, Justin Bieber, 'Star Wars' Among Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  35. ^ "Saturn Award nominations". Saturn Awards. 24 February 2016.
  36. ^ "Saturn Award nominations on YouTube". Saturn Awards. 24 February 2016.
  37. ^ Olivia Cooke Joins John Boyega In Scott Free’s ‘Naked Singularity’
  38. ^ "After Yang" (PDF). NYC Media & Production. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  39. ^ Sarah Deen (5 January 2016). "John Boyega joins Nickelodeon's Tinkershrimp & Dutch".
  40. ^ Errico, Marcus (3 July 2017). "New Star Wars Cartoon Shorts Debut Online, Bringing Female Heroes in Full Force". Yahoo!. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  41. ^ "Serengeti". BBC. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  42. ^ "John Boyega to star in Woyzeck at the Old Vic Theatre". Tuppence Magazine. 18 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.

External links