John Boyega is the coolest actor in the galaxy. Fact.
He is part of JJ Abram’s new Star Wars tribe including Daisy Ridley and ELLE cover star Lupita Nyong’o and we want to be in his gang. The 23-year-old from Peckham has been launched into superstardom after landing one of the leading roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
He plays Finn, the loveable Storm Trooper with a conscience and a consequential killing phobia, who defies all our perceptions of the Dark Side's faceless army.
John is at the epicentre of the Star Wars storm. But he shows no signs of getting carried away. He is calm and collected as he sits across from me at the Corinthia Hotel in London. John shows a maturity that is light years beyond his own. He is humble and gracious about landing the part and the gruelling movie schedule; he speaks of his home and London fondly, and jokes about freebies - the perks of the job - with a charming confidence.
All that, and he has an Uber rating of 4 stars.
How was the premier in London?
Amazing! Manic but it’s home so it’s great not to have to travel and be told ‘Go there, do that.’
Can you tell us about your character, Finn?
He’s a Storm Trooper with feelings. It was a lot of fun to play. It’s always great to play a character that goes against the grain. Finn defies what people think when they think of Storm Troopers.
How was being a part of the new cool Star Wars gang, with the all-star female-strong cast?
Really cool. I think Star Wars always has to be bigger and bigger and better every time and there’s a great cast on The Force Awakens. It’s ground-breaking.
How did you react when you got the part?
I was just relieved. I’d trained and auditioned for 7 months and it was an opportunity I really wanted. I’m very grateful.
If you had to use one emoji to describe how you feel right now, what would it be?
No emoji. Just hashtag Finn on Twitter. That’s me done. ELLE can make it happen. Or maybe - if I had to - the chocolate face with a little afro hair and the dot eyes. And maybe the muscle arm.
What is your earliest memory?
As a boy? Just a lot of squealing. But my earliest vivid memory would be my Nigerian mother. She would wrap me on her back. I remember being on her back a lot. It felt like a ride, like I was riding a dinosaur; going everywhere and seeing everything.
What book is sitting on your bedside table at the moment?
There are no books by my bedside table. You know why? Because I haven’t been home.
Do you have a good mood song?
Million by Tink and Battlefield by Tinyman featuring Caspian. You should put them on your Christmas party playlist.
Not the acapella version of the cast of Star Wars singing the theme tune?
Oh, no, not that one. That’s for you guys.
Who’s the last person you phoned?
I even remember his name! Nathan Mohammed. My last Uber driver.
So, honestly, what’s your Uber rating?
A solid 4 out of 5.
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?
I must not lie to you, we get everything for free! People just send stuff to you. I didn’t even have to pay for the plane tickets.
What's the most prized item in your wardrobe?
My jackets. I love my jackets and good tailoring. I love the designs and the colour.
What were you doing at midnight last night?
I was at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premier after party at Tate Britain!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The first thing that pops into my head is something I can't share with others! The second one is from my dad. He always told me to keep a steady head and continue working.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is showing at a screen near you now.
Words by Francesca Donovan