By now you’ve probably heard of this movie Attack the Block that was going around the festival circuit. From Edgar Wright protégé Joe Cornish, the film is about a British youth gan fighting invading aliens in their housing project. Film newcomer John Boyega stars as Moses, the leader of this gang of boys.
As Boyega made it to Los Angeles, he started taking meetings with Hollywood hotshots, including the local press. If you caught Attack the Block at SXSW, LAFF or a special early screening, or if you’re looking forward to its theatrical release this Friday and want to know more about this new star, here’s the Screen Junkies scoop on John Boyega.
Q: What does “allow it” mean?
John Boyega: “Allow it” is just a slang back in London. It just means, “Stop man, don’t do that.” I don’t know where that came from but it’s just a slang people back home use.
Q: I would have thought it meant you’re giving permission. “Allow it” means stop?
JB: Mm-hmm, don’t do that. It’s a different kind of energy back home. Allow it, man. Just stop. Don’t allow it to happen, not as in do it, it means don’t do it.
Q: Do you think that will become your catch phrase?
JB: Moses’s catch phrase, yes. Not mine though. Not mine.
Q: How famous are you in England now?
Q: What was the most difficult scene to shoot in Attack the Block?
JB: The hero run, because I had to either slow down or speed up trying not to get lost by the shot because there was a camera on tracks trying to get me bang on in the middle of the shot. It was in slow motion as well so I had to express a lot without going extremely fast. Trying to keep up with the alien, those aliens were fast, really fast. So that’s why it was hard to film, and I was hot. Very hot.
JB: Yeah, at the time I didn’t really see it as epic but yeah, it was like a Rambo/Bruce Willis moment.
Q: How heavy was the dead alien puppet you carry around at the beginning of the film?
JB: Oh, I don’t know what they called her. I think it was Mary or something. She was annoying. Oh, man, and they would spray her up with water and put a little goo on her to make her all wet. Ugh, she was disgusting and she was really, really heavy. To have her on my back, I spent a whole day with her but we bonded very well. She’s a great actress.
Q: Who were your action heroes?
JB: Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Will Smith in different roles, like, “Welcome to Earth, motherf***er.” [Sic, Smith didn’t say MF.] Love that. Everyone’s done action. You’ve got Denzel Washington doing action films. Anything that spoke to me really, a lot of action heroes back in the day.
Q: What were your favorite movie monsters?
JB: I like my creatures. I love Predator. I love Alien. I love the design of Alien. Yeah, there’s too many to mention. I love Yoda. I think he’s a bad man. I think Yoda’s on his ting.
Q: On his ting?
JB: That means Yoda knows what’s up. Yoda’s a don. Yoda’s a G. Yoda’s a warrior. Like he’ll be walking with his walking stick, someone try to chuck it to him and he’ll just throw it away and go nuts. I love that. I think he’s a great guy. I’d love to meet him.
Q: What are you doing next?
JB: I just finished filming a film with Eddie Marsan called Junkhearts and just finished filming Law & Order UK as well. But I’m out here to see what’s happening in Hollywood.
Q: What do you play in Junkhearts?
JB: I play a nerdy scared little boy who ends up selling guns with another guy. He’s more of a sensitive doesn’t want to be there scaredy cat character which is good.
Q: Were you looking for the opposite of a badass tough street guy?
JB: Well, yeah, definitely. As an actor, I want to do different things. I want to be like a chameleon, like Johnny Depp. You see him in real life and on screen he’s like totally different people which is the goal I’m going for. But it’s interesting, people didn’t only see the badass thing in Moses. They also saw a little boy, sensitive with the tears and emotion he went through. So people are picking other roles out of Moses as a character which is very exciting for me.
Q: How are the Hollywood meetings going?
JB: Oh, they’re going well. They’re going good. I’ve met great people out here, great people, very inspirational people. I’m back in July to meet more people as well so it’s been real well.
Q: Was moving to L.A. always your goal as an actor?
JB: No, no. Until I realized that wow, most of the roles I want to do are based here. For them to put me up for these roles for auditions, I’ve got to be here to be available to attend auditions and stuff. I will be based in L.A. very, very soon. There’s been arrangements made for that just because a lot of things are going on in this country.
Attack the Block hits limited theaters this Friday.