John Boyega became an overnight sensation after landing a lead role in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but the British-born Nigerian actor knows he wouldn’t be where he is without the support of his parents.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight’s Nichelle Turner at the premiere of his latest film, Detroit, he revealed that he loved giving back to his “king and queen”.
“I bought my mom and dad a house! I mean that’s a way to do it,” he said when asked to divulge his biggest purchase since catapulting to fame.
“You know, I also think that’s giving back to my king and my queen. So that’s what I did.”
The 25-year-old, who was thrust into the limelight as Stormtrooper Finn in the sci-fi franchise, is now a world away from his humble beginnings at the Identity Drama School in Hackney where he studied acting.
Although he is now a household name, the talented Londoner − and likely winner of the Best Son of the Year award − says he is still getting used to life in the spotlight. His journey in Hollywood definitely has delivered plenty of “pinch me” moments, including treating Harrison Fords to some Nigerian cuisine at Peckham’s ‘805’ restaurant.
“It’s strange, because you’ve been working towards the success for so long and to see it manifest, it’s a huge blessing,” Boyega shared. “But at the same time, a huge responsibility, because not everybody gets this opportunity.”
His breakout role was in 2015’s The Force Awakens, alongside Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley and Harrison Ford, but Boyega’s first caught Hollywood’s eye with British sci-fi comedy Attack the Block in 2011.
Since Star Wars propelled him to super-stardom, the actor has landed roles in Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s hit monster movie, out next year, tech thriller The Circle opposite Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, and Detroit.
Directed by Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit is about the terrifying riots that turned the US city into a war zone in 1967, and focuses on a real-life tragedy involving a group of young people caught up in the incident.
The Brit stars alongside Anthony Mackie and Will Poulter in the film set for release in August. After that Boyega fans won’t have to wait long to see their man again. He’ll return as Finn in December’s highly-anticipated sequel Star Wars: The Last Jedi, reuniting with Ridley, the late Fisher, Oscar Issac and Adam Driver.
Boyega recently made headlines after calling out Game Of Thrones producers for the lack of diversity in the HBO fantasy series, saying popular franchises had a duty to reflect society and highlight talent.
“There are no black people on Game of Thrones,” he told GQ. “You don’t see one black person in Lord of the Rings. I ain’t paying money to see one type of person on-screen. You see different people from different backgrounds, different cultures, every day. Even if you’re a racist, you have to live with that. We can ruffle up some feathers.”