STAR WARS and THE WOMAN KING Star John Boyega Covers MEN’S HEALTH Magazine

Posted on August 02, 2022

John Boyega has big breakout energy. With three major new projects and his own innovative production company, the actor and activist is muscling way beyond Star Wars. Boyega spoke to journalist Lola Ogunnaike for Men’s Health’s September issue cover story, sharing how he is building a better version of himself—one who was stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually and ready to embrace leading-man status and the high visibility that comes with it.




On the feel-good vibes he emanated on set for his Men’s Health cover shoot: “You have two options as an artist. Fixate on your fatigue or acknowledge that you’ve arrived and express your extreme gratitude. When I was broke and no casting director wanted to see me, if someone said, ‘We’re going to fly you out tomorrow, take care of your hotel, shoot a Men’s Health cover, then fly you back,’ I would’ve cried with joy. Yeah, I just got off a flight, but that’s what the rappers sing about. I’m living it.”

On his parents who immigrated to England in the 1980s: “My mom and dad will always be my heroes, because at the end of the day, man, they made the fundamental choice moving from Nigeria, coming over to London. If they didn’t make that choice, I don’t think any of us would be here.”

On being drawn to scripts that inspire a visceral reaction, and how he knows he’s found the right one: “I can visualize the film. The concept is clear; the intentions are clear. I’m going through each page and wishing I could read it in five seconds.”

On being vocal about feeling unsupported in his Star Wars days, which he hopes has compelled execs to become more accountable to actors of color: “I’m the one that brought this to the freaking forefront. At least the people going into it now, after my time, [they’re] cool. [Lucasfilm is] going to make sure you’re well supported and at least you [now] go through this franchise knowing that everybody is going to have [your] back. I’m glad I talked out everything at that time.”

On the importance of standing by what he believes in, speaking honestly about the trials of being Black in a world that rates him as a second-class citizen: “Any of us keeping our mouth shut at this point, it doesn’t really feel too comfortable. Because even if you’re British, [you’re] working in the States; the gun’s going to go off before your accent does.”

On his message for people bothered by his unapologetic embrace of the BLM movement, and whether he has experienced any backlash: “Our empowerment is not your demise. Of course there’s backlash. Seen and unseen. It’s just how it goes. You’ll see who’s for you and who’s really not…. [But] this is who I am. I’m going to speak about what I believe in and make sure that whatever I do is aimed at supporting the people.”

On what music currently fuel his gym workouts: “I’ve got a confession. I rarely listen to music with lyrics in the gym. I listen to movie scores…. I love Hans Zimmer. I love Harry Gregson-Williams. It’s harder to run on the treadmill when Drake is talking about being on the jet. The workouts I do [are] hard. I need me some motivation.”

On why he said yes to the historical thriller The Woman King: “The fact that I would be able to speak in my father’s accent, in my native tongue, and portray something that’s different from what I’ve done before, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m coming. I want to be a part of that big-time.’”

The September 2022 issue of Men’s Health featuring John Boyega hits newsstands nationwide on August 9.

[Photo Credit: Danny Kasirye for Men’s Health Magazine]

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