John Boyega says pitting black actors against Brits is ‘petty and weak’

John Boyega doesn’t want any part of the conversation about the idea of ​​British actors being offered more roles in the US than their American counterparts.

During his appearance on The Breakfast Club on Friday September 16, the British star said there was no point in bringing the two groups together and that both parties should make room for an actual conversation instead.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 24: John Boyega attends the Los Angeles Special Screening of ‘BREAKING’ at The London West Hollywood on August 24, 2022 in Beverly Hills in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Momodu Mansaray/Getty Images)

“I think number one, the first approach is to listen to each other because there might be a perspective that we’re missing, right, to come into play,” the 30-year-old actor said around the 28-minute mark of the interview .

He continued: “We don’t come into the game to steal anything. In fact, by the way, it is impossible to steal a role. Roles are offered only. So we only come for work, but sometimes you don’t know who you’re stepping on unless you really listen to the people and people on the ground who are telling you.”

Many of Boyega’s British peers have weighed in on the debate with similar sentiments since it first attracted attention in 2017 after Samuel L. Jackson faced criticism of Daniel Kaluuya’s casting in Jordan Peele’s debut feature Get Out.

At the time, Jackson told HOT 97’s Ebro Darden, “There are a lot of black British actors in these films. I often wonder what that film would have been like with an American brother who really feels that.” He added, “Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been dating interracially for a hundred years. What would a brother from America have thought of this role? Some things are universal, but not everything.”

Kaluuya’s performance earned him his first Best Actor Oscar nomination in 2018, which went to veteran actor Gary Oldman for his role as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

The likes of Idris Elba, Damson Idris and even American actress Regina King have defended their decision to cast British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X and Canadian star Eli Goree as Muhammad Ali in their film One Night in Miami.

“Sure, none of them are American. But can they relate to the experience and pain that a black person feels at being disrespected just because of the color of their skin? Absolutely, they can,” she told reporters during a BAFTA masterclass in London, England last year.

She continued, “Can they take it upon themselves to make sure they educate themselves about how history is specific to America, how black Americans built this country; it was built on the bodies of black americans? They can definitely improve on that, and they have.” John Boyega says pitting black actors against Brits is ‘petty and weak’

James Brien

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