John Boyega Is Ready to Help Hollywood Tell African Stories — Starting with Nigeria

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John Boyega
John Boyega has different thoughts on “Black Panther” than Samuel L. Jackson. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

In a markedly different stance from Samuel L. Jackson, “Pacific Rim Uprising” actor John Boyega thinks “Black Panther” making waves at the box office means Hollywood wants to see Black stories — specifically those from Nigeria.

“Because of the success of ‘Black Panther,’ now Hollywood wants African stories and I think Nigeria is at the forefront of that,” he told CNN during a trip to Lagos while on tour. “They are ready to see all these epic stories that we have in Nigeria.”

The film about the fictional African nation of Wakanda and it’s leader T’Challa spent five weeks at no. 1 at the box office and has earned $1.3 billion worldwide to date. Its impact has led to Marvel president considering a spin-off of the Dora Milaje and a film about the real-life warriors who inspired T’Challa’s female bodyguards, the Dahomey Warriors. The latter already secured “Black Panther” actress Lupita Nyogn’o and Viola Davis.

And while Jackson downplayed the all-Black film’s global impact by crediting it to the movie’s action-adventure genre, Boyega is already doing his part to bring Naija culture to Hollywood. His production company, Upper Room Entertainment, was founded to tell stories from the motherland.

“My goal was to create original stories and I wanted to be a part of the development of stories,” he said.

During a promo tour for the “Pacific Rim” sequel, Boyega made time to discuss with key industry personnel how to set up Nigeria to have worldwide success. For one, training local talent in all aspects of the filmmaking process — from scriptwriting to production — is one way Boyega hopes will put the country on the map as the new Hollywood.

“We will have Nigerian people, young people present on set, shadowing those professionals so that they’re constantly learning and knowing what skills they need to learn,” he said.
“And it’s not just acting, it’s cinematography, it’s all the basics of the crew that matter… those are the fundamental big plans.”

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