John Boyega has compared being in blockbuster film franchises to a “luxury jail”.
In 2019, the actor appeared as Finn in Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy for the final time.
In a recent Q&A, Boyega said (as quoted by Cinema Blend): “Being in a big franchise, it's kind of like luxury jail sometimes for an actor when you want to do something else.
“Because remember, in a franchise you're working on one character for many years, which can starve your other muscles.”
Boyega recently appeared in Steve McQueen’s acclaimed BBC One series Small Axe, and spoke of the experience effusively during the recent Q&A.
“[I wanted] to be in something where I knew that I'd play a different type of role, a different type of man,” he said. “And then knowing Steve through, we're all a part of the same industry so I'd heard about Steve's directing style, I was really really curious and excited to have the opportunity anyway to be a part of it.”
“And when it came through I was on the telly like 'this is my moment.'”
Since the release of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker in 2019, Boyega has been outspoken in his criticism of the franchise, arguing last year that the series had given better storylines to its white lead actors than to himself and co-star Kelly Marie Tran.
“They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley,” said Boyega last year. “Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I’m not exposing anything.
“[Disney], 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 f*** all.”
Boyega’s performance in Small Axe (in the episode “Red, White and Blue”) can be watched on BBC iPlayer now.