Day out with Hollywood star, John Boyega on Pacific Rim Uprising
It was an evening of glitz, glam and magic, as the youth-friendly platform that prides itself in entertaining, educating and empowering youths, Accelerate TV, treated Lagosians to a day out with Hollywood star, John Boyega for the screening of Pacific Rim Uprising, a movie he co-produced and featured in.
The movie is a 2018 American science fiction written by Steven S. DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, and T.S. Nowlin and directed by DeKnight (in his feature-film directorial debut). It is the sequel to the 2013 film Pacific Rim, with Guillermo del Toro, the director of the original, serving as a producer.
The sequel stars John Boyega (who made his producer debut), as well as Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, and Adria Arjona, with Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman returning from the original film.
Set in the year 2035, the plot follows humanity again fighting Kaiju, giant monsters set on destroying the world. The sci-fi film was released in the United States by Universal Pictures on March 23, 2018, in 2D, Real D 3D, IMAX 3D and IMAX, and has grossed $267 million worldwide, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 2018.
The film is said to have cost about $150million to produced, is arguably banking on breaking out overseas, especially in China where the first flick made a then-huge $111million.
Speaking on his role in ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’, he said: “I think it is amazing. When I was growing up, when we put on Hollywood films, our parents could not just follow them, they didn’t understand the stories.
“I think a lot of that is because they did not have the characters that they could relate to and say, ‘this could be my son or daughter’. I think me staring in it opened that kind of door and I’m glad. I have always wanted this kind of quality entertainment to be exposed to the masses.
“There are still lots of work to be done but I am happy to be one of the many artiste that are part of this big jigsaw puzzle. It is a blessing to produce a movie such as Pacific Rim Uprising.”
On his plans for Nigeria, Boyega said he is in country to give back and nurture talents that will end up as ambassadors for the country, stressing that his parents always told him to go back to Nigeria when he is fully established.
“I have been here a good couple of times; I have been coming since 2001. It’s the right time, my parents raised me and they told me that ‘when you are of age and you have established yourself enough to transfer your skills to others you have to go back home’. So, I am just doing what we have been told to do. I am enjoying it, it seems like there are more people with the same mentality.”
“This trip was for intel, to be educated about the infrastructure here, what is in place, what is not in place and what requires to be done, what it takes for a major studio in Hollywood to come down here and collaborate with the best from Nigeria and work on stories that will be filmed here.
While stressing that Nigerian young actors have the energy and work ethic to succeed in the movie industry globally, he called on the Nigerian government to provide the platform to nurture talents, adding that he was lucky to have grew up in a country where the platform is available.
“My dream is to make a low budget Nollywood movie that would cost N9 billion that I would star in alongside a Nollywood actress known or unknown. That will be a fantastic dream. This is a great opportunity because entertainment actually attracts a huge variety of jobs.
“A big film set needs a lawyer, sewers, and caterers. So this is a structure for the country and something that should be embraced. Before that, is story and so my producing partner and myself are going up to the Caribbean for isolation to develop, because it can’t just be one story that comes. We have to develop as many stories as we can.”
Asked his plans for talent development in Nigeria, Boyega said, “There is need for more training for young actors. The fundamental thing that we have been doing is that before we do any project in Nigeria is to see what is on the ground. We should stay away from the mentality that Hollywood can teach you everything.
“There is the energy and the work ethic here that can still be transformed. That is where we can come in and help the process. Actors have to give more, you can’t have this lack of rehearsals for project and there is a quick turnaround before we bring out a project. It affects quality, sound and the process of storytelling.
“As you know, for a global movie to have local box office and international box office, you have to appeal to the world and I think Nigeria is ready for the world, not just for us watching ourselves or having conversations with each other, we must have stories that has a same historical value like a country like China or the United States of America.
“Why shouldn’t we go for excellence? I think that with training, especially for the young actors, we can go far. There is a style for film that is not too over the top, there is a style that requires you to do the work internally. The camera is so intimate and it represents the audience and sees everything that goes on in your eyes. Sometimes when you are able to convey emotion accurately, the audience sees it.
“Training and shadowing programming for important things like cinematography, for drama is something that we could also look at. Talent is God given, it grows in you and keeps you up at night; it scares you. It is an ambition. If that is nurtured and watered by the environment, they can be like me” he said.
He continues, “My blessing comes from the fact that I have that structure. Why shouldn’t we have that? If we do so, we can kill two birds with one stone because these talents will go and be Nigeria’s ambassadors and attract people from all over the world to our country and see the beauty of it. Also, entertainment changes the mindset of people about a country,” he added.
The screening was followed by a Q&A session hosted by video director and filmmaker, Kemi Adetiba, where the Star Wars actor shared stories about his early days as an actor and some of his plans for the Nigerian movie industry.
Highpoint of the evening event was when the British-Nigerian star was asked about his relationship status, which his negative reply was received with a thunderous uproar of applause from the ladies, who screamed in excitement as the news meant that there is still hope for one of them to become the future Mrs. Boyega.
Some of Nigeria’s finest and high profile celebrities including Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Steve Ayorinde, D’banj, who came with his wife and son; Dr Sid, Toni Tones, and Stephanie Coker among others, were also there to view the movie.