John Boyega calls blockbuster franchises “luxury jail” for actors

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

john boyega, franchise, blockbusters, actors

Actor John Boyega is no stranger to speaking out publicly about issues he's passionate about. From discussing racial inequality to shedding light on his perceived mistreatment at the hands of the higher-ups behind the Star Wars franchise, Boyega doesn't seem afraid to take a stance. Boyega continued his transparency during a recent Q&A for his upcoming movie anthology series Small Axe, and this time he's comparing being a part of a big movie franchise like Star Wars to being in a "luxury jail."

"Being in a big franchise, it's kind of like luxury jail sometimes for an actor when you want to do something else. Because remember, in a franchise you're working on one character for many years, which can starve your other muscles. And in wanting to be in something where I knew that I'd play a different type of role, a different type of man, and then knowing [Small Axe director] Steve [McQueen] through, we're all a part of the same industry so I'd heard about Steve's directing style, I was really really curious and excited to have the opportunity anyway to be a part of it. And when it came through I was on the tele like 'this is my moment.'"

Boyega has a point that many other actors have pointed out that have appeared in large franchise films, particularly franchise films that require you to sign on for multiple installments. There is very little wiggle room to do much else and that commitment can be daunting for actors that want the opportunity to play other roles.  I always think back to Jennifer Lawrence when she signed on for 2011's X-Men: First Class. Lawrence joined that film before her star truly took off after her Oscar nomination for Winter's Bone. By the time X-Men: Days of Future Past was released in 2014, Lawrence had joined another huge franchise with The Hunger Games, won an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, and was nominated again for American Hustle. This is purely speculation on my part but if she wasn't contractually obligated to, I doubt she would've expressed much interest in returning for 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse. You can honestly feel her lack of enthusiasm in that film and, in my opinion, it's because she HAD to do it and not that she WANTED to do it. It's not like these multi-picture franchise deals don't work for a lot of actors. Look at the majority of the actors that make up the MCU. They seem very content with devoting the time to those franchises but it seems like they have been able to make more time for smaller projects in between these tentpole releases. Some will say Boyega is complaining in regards to his comment but it has been a stance expressed by a lot of actors that take these big films on.

For better or worse, Boyega was a part of that franchise machine with his role as Finn in the latest Star Wars films. His view on them has seemed to change after the release of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker as the actor has seemingly implied the promise that the character showed in The Force Awakens wasn't fully realized in the films that followed. Whatever his experience has been as the franchise wrapped up for him, Boyega still seems open to doing franchise films. He frequently responds to fanart shared online that cast him in various franchises, particularly Jason Todd in Batman and John Stewart in Green Lantern. Boyega also responded enthusiastically when his Small Axe co-star Letitia Wright suggested he would make a good James Bond. Boyega said to her compliment "Hey listen. With Steve McQueen directing, let's do this. We could show them something different. We still bring that sophistication. You know, James Bond has to be James Bond. But, we could do something with that." At the end of the time, I think Boyega just wants the project to be good and he wants to be able to play a fully fleshed-out character. It's something that most actors who love the craft really want at the end of the day.

Do YOU agree with John Boyega's assessment?

Source: Cinemablend

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