The Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega has hit back at “prejudiced” fans who have questioned the casting of a black actor as a stormtrooper in JJ Abrams’ forthcoming film.
In an interview with V magazine, Boyega said that the negative reaction of some fans “was unnecessary”. “I’m in the movie, what are you going to do about it? You either enjoy it or you don’t.” He also asserted that increased onscreen diversity was a fact. “I’m not saying get used to the future ... [it] is already happening. People of colour and women are increasingly being shown on screen. For things to be whitewashed just doesn’t make sense.”
The issue first raised its head in November 2014, when the first trailer for The Force Awakens was posted online. Boyega responded to questions over the ethnicity of his character in an Instagram post, writing: “Get used to it.”
The 23-year-old London-born actor, who made waves with his first feature role in sci-fi thriller Attack the Block, added that he saw his acting as a way of confronting prejudice. “All the films I’ve done have had a secret commentary on stereotypical mentalities,” he said. “It’s about getting people to drop a prejudiced state of mind and realise: ‘we’re just watching normal people.’”
In the same interview, Boyega revealed he was being mentored by Robert Downey Jr. “He’s helped me prepare for how my life is going to change, and that has been inspiring. I’m talking to someone who understands the power of choices, both positive and negative.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released on 17 December in the UK and Australia and on 18 December in the US.
This article was written by Andrew Pulver, for theguardian.com on Friday 9th October 2015 12.53 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010