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John Boyega remembers feeling ‘exhausted’ and ‘paranoid’ after ‘Star Wars’ fame: ‘You’re drained by your individual dream’

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John Boyega is in a galaxy of his personal making.

The Star Wars star, 30, has been working nonstop since his position within the international franchise catapulted him to superstardom. In a brand new interview with Men’s Health, the British-born son of Nigerian immigrants opened up about how that work ethic finally took a toll on his psychological well being.

Growing up in Peckham, a working-class neighborhood in London, Boyega mentioned his ambition was the “battery power” that led him to turn out to be a “millionaire by probably 22 or 23,” following his position as Finn within the sequel trilogy movies Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

However, the strain to maintain that upward momentum turned poisonous. “[I] had to say yes to everything,” he mentioned of the strain he positioned upon himself. “It’s tiring and it’s stress, and then dealing with the fact that you eventually have to perform,” including, “There are many different ways careers can exhaust you, but the artistic way is unique.”

His work schedule left him feeling “exhausted, frantic, and paranoid,” he mentioned. “You’re tired by your own dream, what you love.”

Being capable of speak overtly about stress is important, which is why he says he surrounds himself with trusted family and friends who will pay attention with out judgment.

“You choose your circle in which you can accept how you express yourself. Once you feel that acceptance, they can help you, help motivate you,” he mentioned. “That’s your safe place as a celebrity. So you can actually complain [about the downsides of fame].”

“I still want to say that s***,” he continued. “Like, this is petty, but I want to tell my sisters, ‘Oh, this is just how I feel.’ And they’re going to be like, ‘This is petty, but yeah, I hear you.’ Whereas in the world it’s going to be like, ‘You’re a f***ing millionaire, you idiot. You know what I had to do this morning, and you’re complaining about that?’ Let me just chill and complain to the people that understand that I’m not trying to be evil. It’s just today, I’m sad. I’m experiencing [this phase of my career] as a more balanced person who is willing to improve. I know it’s a weird, random thing to say, but I’m willing to say sorry.”

Still, the Breaking star is aware of how lucky he’s — and the duty he must be a task mannequin. Tapping into that has helped him discover the gratitude he must push by means of the arduous days.

“You have two options as an artist,” he mentioned. “Fixate on your fatigue or acknowledge that you’ve arrived and express your extreme gratitude. When I was broke and no casting director wanted to see me, if someone said, ‘We’re going to fly you out tomorrow, take care of your hotel, shoot a Men’s Health cover, then fly you back,’ I would’ve cried with joy. Yeah, I just got off a flight, but that’s what the rappers sing about. I’m living it.”

Using his platform to talk on essential causes — like in 2020, when his speech at a Black Lives Matter protest went viral — has welcomed its fair proportion of “backlash,” he says, however for the proud Nigerian actor, it is par for the course.

“Our empowerment is not your demise,” he mentioned of Black empowerment. “This is who I am. I’m going to speak about what I believe in and make sure that whatever I do is aimed at supporting the people.”

Boyega isn’t any stranger to talking out in regards to the mistreatment of Black actors in movie. Last yr, he made headlines after complaining about how actors and characters of shade have been portrayed within the newest Star Wars films, telling British GQ that he felt marginalized all through the filming course of.

“What I might say to Disney is don’t convey out a Black character, market them to be far more essential within the franchise than they’re after which have them pushed to the aspect,” he said at the time. “It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”

When reflecting on his past comments, Boyega acknowledged to Men’s Health that he hopes his stance can create accountability for leader in the field.

“I’m the one which introduced this to the freaking forefront,” he explained. “At least the people going into it now, after my time, [they’re] cool,” stating that now, Lucasfilm is “going to make sure you’re well supported and at least you [now] go through this franchise knowing that everybody is going to have [your] back. I’m glad I talked out everything at that time.”

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