The House of the Devil Mouse is learning, to its considerable chagrin and cost, that hiring people solely on the basis of their skin colour rather than their actual abilities is likely to bite you in the ass in the long run:
“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race,” he says, holding my gaze. “Let’s just leave it like that. It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realise, ‘I got given this opportunity but I’m in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me.’ Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and black that and you shouldn’t be a Stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I’m this way. That’s my frustration.”
He has made peace with a lot of this now (following that intense 2017 period he attended therapy to deal with some “horrible personality traits, [such as] anger”) but he lets his point settle as our mocktails melt to minted slush on the low table between us.
In the continued afterglow of that first, franchise-defibrillating Star Wars film, he continued to notice a stylist he’d hired when he first started doing press “cringing at certain clothes I wanted to go for”, the hairdresser who had no experience of working with hair like his but “still had the guts to pretend”, and he decided that he could no longer grin and bear it like a grateful competition winner. “During the press of [The Force Awakens] I went along with it,” he notes. “And obviously at the time I was very genuinely happy to be a part of it. But my dad always tells me one thing: ‘Don’t overpay with respect.’ You can pay respect, but sometimes you’ll be overpaying and selling yourself short.”
“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” he says. “You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know fuck all. So what do you want me to say? What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience…’ Nah, nah, nah. I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience. They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I’m not exposing anything.”
There is a lot of nonsense to unpack here and I have very limited time to do it, so all I will say is that the entire “Black Stormtrooper Controversy” is absolute BULLSHIT.
John Boyega has jumped right onto the Black Looming Menace bandwagon, and quite happily too, along with fellow “assisted-start” characters like Lewis Hamilton. It is beyond irritating to watch these guys, who have benefited considerably from getting leg-ups in their careers that the rest of us can only dream of, complaining about how unfairly they’ve been treated and how badly their kin are treated.
Let’s be clear about a few things:
First, Adam Driver served his country with honour and distinction as a US Marine. As much as I despise the character of Kylo Ren, I greatly admire the man who played him on screen. By all accounts, Mr. Driver has comported himself in a very dignified fashion, remaining above the fray and never saying a single bad word about either the film or his employers, despite the very obvious box office disasters that were The Last Straw and The Fall of Skywalker.
Now he is being attacked by one of his former colleagues over allegations that are unsubstantiated and cannot be proven. As far as I’m aware, Mr. Driver continues to take the high road and act with honour and dignity. Good for him.
Second, the idea that fans disliked a Black stormtrooper in the Disney Star Wars sequels is ridiculous given that it is a matter of established canon that the stormtrooper ranks were initially made up of clone troopers. And those clone troopers were directly sampled from one Jango Fett – played by a New Zealander with Maori blood named Temuera Morrison. In other words, the original Republic troopers, who eventually became stormtroopers, weren’t all white boys – they were actually Little Brown Brothers who were integrated into the military of the Galactic Empire pretty much seamlessly.
The fans didn’t have the slightest problem with brown-skinned stormies back in 2002. They don’t have any problems with a Black stormtrooper now. John Boyega is tilting at completely imaginary windmills in his desperate quest to make himself an aggrieved party.
Third, Mr. Boyega plainly has some psychological issues of his own – he admits as much. Maybe it would be more productive to direct his anger at targets that actually deserve it? Like, oh, I dunno, Ruin Johnson, whose STAR WARS sequel was so abominably bad that it ruined the franchise, possibly forever?
Fourth, Lucasfilm is clearly in its death throes at this point thanks to its severe wokeness infection. But the House of the Devil Mouse still has some amount of ability to save itself – though not for very much longer, given its astonishingly high debt load and the fact that its biggest money earners are all shut down thanks to the Beer Bug.
But, if the Devil Mouse has any sense whatsoever, it will do everything in its power to make sure not to hire these types of people ever again.
John Boyega is a bankable Hollyweird star thanks to his work in the awful STAR WARS sequels. The least he could do is be grateful for an opportunity that literally millions of people who watched that film – many of them with the same skin colour as himself – would give their eye-teeth to have.
That is not to say that he is good for the box office or for his employers. Mr. Boyega has starred in three billion-dollar-grossing films (which were all universally terrible) and in Pacific Rim: Uprising, which was… well, the less said about that one, the better. (I consider it to be a retarded cousin to the awesomely stupid – or should it be, stupidly awesome? – original.)
That isn’t exactly the world’s greatest acting CV. But he has certainly earned more money than he will need for the rest of his life by simply half-arsing his way through blockbuster films.
And instead of being happy about that, he’s busy grousing about how he wasn’t given a big enough role or enough screentime – and blaming everyone around him for being RAAAAAAAYCISSS!!!
Here’s an idea, Johnny – instead of bitching about nonsense, why not spend some time looking for good movie roles where you can actually show off some skills?
And here’s an even better idea for the Devil Mouse and other Hollyweird studios that don’t want to get knifed in the back by a star with serious diva issues:
Don’t hire such people. They aren’t good for you.
Hire hardworking, talented artists dedicated to their craft instead – like, oh I dunno, Keanu Reeves. Or Adam Driver. Or the late Chadwick Boseman. Or Viggo Mortensen. Their personal politics might be anywhere from annoying to ridiculous, but these are all people who show up on time, don’t act like overentitled spoilt brats, and treat both cast and crew with the utmost respect.
Those are the kinds of people that you want starring in your films – not people with massive chips on their shoulders who can’t wait to bitch about how unfairly you treated them.