Hollywood rallies round John Boyega following Black Lives Matter speech

J.J. Abrams, Mark Hamill and Jordan Peele have pledged to support John Boyega after he feared he would never work again following his anti-racism speech at Black Lives Matter rally.The Star Wars actor attended the protest in London’s Hyde Park on Wedne…

J.J. Abrams, Mark Hamill and Jordan Peele have pledged to support John Boyega after he feared he would never work again following his anti-racism speech at Black Lives Matter rally.

The Star Wars actor attended the protest in London’s Hyde Park on Wednesday and gave a speech to the crowd in which he condemned racial injustice and called for action.

“Look I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this but, f**k that,” Boyega told the crowd, as his voice broke with emotion. “Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting. I ain’t waiting.”

After a video of Boyega’s speech went viral on Twitter, filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry urged other Hollywood creatives to make a pledge to work with the Attack the Block star in the future.

“I would work with John Boyega and I urge other Non-Black creators to affirm that they have his back as well,” he wrote.

Abrams, who directed the 28-year-old in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 and 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker, wrote: “You KNOW that as long as I’m allowed to keep working, I’ll always be begging to work with you. Deep respect and love, my friend.”

“Have before and would again, in a heartbeat. So proud of John today,” wrote Edgar Wright, who was an executive producer on 2011’s Attack the Block.

“We got you, John,” Get Out director Peele replied, as well as Lin Manuel-Miranda, who tweeted: “Oh god I WISH, Ojalá! From Attack The Block to this day!”

Hamill, who has worked with Boyega on all three of the Star Wars sequels, penned an emotional note to the young actor.

“Never been more proud of you, John. @JohnBoyega (love), dad,” he posted.

The official Star Wars Twitter account also threw its support behind the British actor, and even shared a link where fans could watch his speech at the rally. “We stand with and support you, @JohnBoyega,” they wrote.

Protests have been taking place in the U.S., U.K. and around the world in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, who died at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis last week.

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Daisy Ridley breaks silence on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker criticism

Daisy Ridley found it “so upsetting” to read criticism about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The British actress made her third appearance as Rey in J.J. Abrams’ film, which divided both fans and critics when it was released in December, and has sinc…

Daisy Ridley found it “so upsetting” to read criticism about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The British actress made her third appearance as Rey in J.J. Abrams’ film, which divided both fans and critics when it was released in December, and has since become the lowest-rated feature in the main nine-movie Star Wars franchise.

Breaking her silence on the criticism in an interview on the DragCast podcast, Ridley admitted she had a tough January because she struggled with the fact fans didn’t love episode nine like they did the other instalments.

“This last film was really tricky,” she said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “January was not that nice. It was weird, I felt like all of this love that we’d sort of been shown the first time around, I was like, ‘Where’s the love gone?'”

She added that watching The Skywalker Legacy, a making-of documentary on the Rise of Skywalker’s DVD release, and remembering the love the cast shared on set, made it more difficult to accept the lukewarm response.

“I watched the documentary, the making-of, this week,” the 28-year-old continued. “It’s so filled with love, and I think it’s that tricky thing of when you’re part of something that is so filled with love and then people (don’t like it). You know, everyone’s entitled to not like something, but it feels like it’s changed slightly. But I think in general that’s because social media and what have you.”

Ridley also insisted that if she didn’t like a film she wouldn’t tweet about it, but many others do and she had a hard time avoiding negative articles and reactions because they flooded her social media feeds.

“Conversations are just more public, so there’s stuff I wouldn’t have seen, but honestly trying to scroll through my newsfeed in January and trying to not see Star Wars stuff, I’d see headlines and be like ‘Oh my God, this is so upsetting,'” she shared.

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Greg Grunberg defends Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Greg Grunberg was “so angry” about the criticism directed at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.The third instalment in the sci-fi sequel trilogy, directed by J.J. Abrams, was released in December and divided audiences, with many accusing the film of jus…

Greg Grunberg was “so angry” about the criticism directed at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The third instalment in the sci-fi sequel trilogy, directed by J.J. Abrams, was released in December and divided audiences, with many accusing the film of just trying to please the fans.

And Grunberg, who plays Resistance pilot Snap Wexley, told The Hollywood Reporter that he was infuriated by the unfair criticism.

“When the movie came out, I was so p***ed off and angry about one specific criticism that I heard. It said, ‘Oh, he’s just pandering to the fans.’ It’s like, ‘What are you talking about? A movie like this is all about satisfying the fans,'” Grunberg fired.

He went on to dismiss rumours that director Abrams refused to follow the storylines created by Rian Johnson in The Rise of Skywalker’s predecessor, The Last Jedi.

“It’s one of those things where if you pay attention to the film and engage with it, all it does is keep that story going,” Grunberg explained, insisting that he never heard Abrams make any disparaging comments about Johnson. “I would absolutely tell you if there were moments here and there. And there weren’t. There just absolutely weren’t. If anybody was going to try and dig that out of J.J., it’d be me.”

The Heroes actor, who has been friends with Abrams since they were children, said that the filmmaker “loves” Johnson because of how “creative and brilliant he is.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Grunberg debunked reports of a director’s cut of The Rise of Skywalker, and said there was no pressure on Abrams by Disney and Lucasfilm bosses “to cut things out.”

“Personally, I don’t think there’s any truth to that, and I would be surprised if there’s a ‘J.J. cut.’ Every movie goes through a series of cuts; it’s just the nature of it. I don’t buy into it at all,” he stated.

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Billie Lourd was emotional filming Star Wars scenes for late Carrie Fisher

Billie Lourd endured a full roller coaster of emotions on the set of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker after agreeing to stand in for her late mother Carrie Fisher.The actress, famed for her role as Princess Leia, died unexpectedly at the age of 60 in D…

Billie Lourd endured a full roller coaster of emotions on the set of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker after agreeing to stand in for her late mother Carrie Fisher.

The actress, famed for her role as Princess Leia, died unexpectedly at the age of 60 in December 2016, but director J.J. Abrams was able to cut together unused footage of Fisher from 2015’s The Force Awakens to resurrect her character for key scenes in the recently released The Rise of Skywalker.

Lourd, who portrays Resistance member Lieutenant Connix in the sci-fi blockbusters, helped Abrams and his team complete the sequences by taking part in the Leia shoots, and she has now admitted it was truly bittersweet to fill in for her mum.

“It’s literally like a gift from her, or her forcing us to make her the star of the movie – probably both!” she laughed in the new behind-the-scenes documentary, The Skywalker Legacy. “Being back has been incredible, painful, surreal – all of the adjectives that you can come up with, probably, I felt.”

Abrams later used Fisher’s earlier film clips to digitally replace the 27-year-old’s face with that of her mother.

Production on The Rise of Skywalker’s Princess Leia scenes was also an emotional experience for leading lady Daisy Ridley, who needed to collect herself after filming.

“The reality of having to do a scene with someone who isn’t actually there was very difficult,” the British actress shared. “I sort of had to walk off and have a moment.”

And Abrams insisted he will forever be grateful to Lourd for giving him her blessing to bring Fisher back from the dead onscreen.

“To know that we were doing this with her at our side, that’s something that I will always be grateful to her for,” the director said.

The Skywalker Legacy, which details how filmmakers incorporated unused Fisher footage into the latest movie, will be released to coincide with the digital launch of The Rise of Skywalker on 17 March.

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Harrison Ford shocked by proposal for Han Solo’s cameo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Harrison Ford was stunned when J.J. Abrams approached him to reprise his role as Han Solo for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.The iconic character was killed by Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, Han Solo and Leia Organa’s son Ben, in 2015’s The Force Awakens, b…

Harrison Ford was stunned when J.J. Abrams approached him to reprise his role as Han Solo for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The iconic character was killed by Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, Han Solo and Leia Organa’s son Ben, in 2015’s The Force Awakens, but briefly appeared in last year’s final instalment of the trilogy, much to the surprise of fans.

In an interview with USA Today, Ford admitted he was also shocked about Abrams’ plans for his cameo, and had to remind the filmmaker that he was killed off.

“When J.J. asked me to do it, I said, ‘Are you kidding? I’m dead!'” the 77-year-old recalled. “He said, ‘Sorta dead. You can do this.’ He hadn’t written anything at that time. But he said, ‘This is going to be great.’

“So I said okay. If J.J. asked you do something, you’d probably do it too. He’s a very persuasive guy.”

The Indiana Jones actor also insisted that he agreed to come back to the sci-fi fantasy saga because he felt Solo returning as a ghost-like figure to his son Ben was a pivotal moment in the villain’s transition from the dark to the light side.

“It was a useful addition to the story and the continuing development of Adam Driver’s character,” he explained. “And the chance to do another scene with Adam was great.”

Since the movie was released in December, fans have speculated if Ford’s character was using Jedi powers to return as a Force ghost, but he confessed he had no idea what one was.

“A Force ghost? I don’t know what a Force ghost is… Don’t tell anyone. I’m not talking loud enough for your recorder. I have no f**king idea what a Force ghost is. And I don’t care!” he laughed.

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J.J. Abrams ‘respects’ critics of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

J.J. Abrams “totally gets” why some fans didn’t like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.The latest movie in the science-fiction franchise, which starred Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac, received a mixed reaction from fans and critics alike fol…

J.J. Abrams “totally gets” why some fans didn’t like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The latest movie in the science-fiction franchise, which starred Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac, received a mixed reaction from fans and critics alike following its release in December and is now the lowest-rated film in the nine-episode saga, with 52 per cent on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.

Addressing the reception to the film in a chat with the Press Association, Abrams, who directed the movie, insisted that he respects all opinions, whether positive or negative.

“(Reaction was) good, bad, some people hated it, some people loved it. It was all over the place. To those who didn’t like it, I totally get it, respect it. To those who loved it, I’m grateful,” he said. “Obviously, a lot of people worked a lot of hours to do something that would make people feel good and that they’d love.”

Abrams added that the feedback does sometimes make him consider if he should have done certain aspects differently.

“Anytime someone doesn’t like it you think, ‘Oh, yeah I could’ve done that better, I should’ve done that,'” the filmmaker admitted. “You try to take it in, but for the most part, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who worked so hard to do it and for the people who saw it and loved it I’m grateful to them too.”

Elsewhere, Abrams was asked on the red carpet at the Oscar Wilde Awards about what projects he had in the pipeline, but he remained tight-lipped.

“There’s a bunch of stuff we’re working on and some things I’m really excited about but it’s obviously too early to talk about. But there are going to be some fun things coming up I look forward to getting out in the world,” he teased.

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Quentin Tarantino unlikely to direct Star Trek film

Quentin Tarantino has indicated he will not direct a planned new Star Trek film.Back in December 2017, it was revealed that the Oscar winner had pitched an idea to producer J.J. Abrams, and the two began to develop an original storyline for the sci-fi …

Quentin Tarantino has indicated he will not direct a planned new Star Trek film.

Back in December 2017, it was revealed that the Oscar winner had pitched an idea to producer J.J. Abrams, and the two began to develop an original storyline for the sci-fi movie.

Mark L. Smith, who co-wrote epic drama The Revenant, was tasked with penning the Star Trek screenplay while Tarantino made Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, with the filmmaker looking to return to the movie once he had wrapped on the blockbuster.

However, the 56-year-old has now indicated that he will not be involved with the Star Trek film – though still hopes Paramount studio bosses will make it in the future.

“I think they might make that movie, but I just don’t think I’m going to direct it,” he told Deadline. “It’s a good idea. They should definitely do it and I’ll be happy to come in and give them some notes on the first rough cut.”

Tarantino had suggested last year that he would retire after making his 10th movie, which will be his next project.

Back in 2009, Abrams directed the hugely successful Star Trek reboot, featuring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Zoe Saldana, which raked in more than $385 million (£296 million) worldwide.

He also helmed the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, four years later, which made more than $467 million (£359 million) globally.

Fast & Furious director Justin Lin was hired for the third instalment, Star Trek Beyond, in 2016, which was the lowest-grossing movie in the series, making $343 million (£263 million).

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Kelly Marie Tran wanted to explore more of character’s story in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Kelly Marie Tran would have liked to explore more of her character Rose Tico’s storyline in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The actress first appeared as Resistance engineer Rose in 2017’s The Last Jedi, and fans were left outraged when they discove…

Kelly Marie Tran would have liked to explore more of her character Rose Tico’s storyline in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The actress first appeared as Resistance engineer Rose in 2017’s The Last Jedi, and fans were left outraged when they discovered the character had hardly any screen time – only 76 seconds – in The Rise of Skywalker, which has a running time of two hours and 35 minutes.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk before the backlash over her limited appearance, Tran admitted there was much more she would have liked to explore with the character.

“Yeah, I mean, I think that, as with any character that an actor plays there are always things you’re wanting to explore, because humanity is limitless and so a character’s humanity is limitless and there are so many things we’d all want to do as those characters so I would say yes?” she replied. “I don’t think there is a specific answer in exactly what I wanted to do, but I think J.J. (Abrams, director) has done such an incredible job of wrapping up nine films and having all of these different storylines and characters involved.”

Chris Terrio, who co-wrote the script with Abrams, recently addressed the actress’s limited screen time and revealed Rose was slated to appear in more scenes, but there were technical difficulties with the unused footage of the late Carrie Fisher, meaning many of the scenes featuring Rose and General Leia Organa were left on the cutting room floor.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 30-year-old revealed the scenes that involved the actors reacting to pre-recorded footage of Fisher were difficult.

“It’s one thing to sit there, look at that footage and try to react to it, but a lot of the big group scenes felt like they were puzzle pieces if that makes sense,” Tran explained. “We were trying to use specific moments that they already had, so it definitely took more time. I think there were more reshoots on those scenes, specifically, to just try and make sure all of the performances matched up since she wasn’t physically there.”

Tran, who hasn’t directly commented on the backlash, also revealed she was set to appear in more of the Battle of Exegol finale sequence.

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J.J. Abrams responds to criticism of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

J.J. Abrams has insisted the opinions of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s critics are as valid as those who loved it. The third instalment in the sci-fi franchise, which Abrams directed, has proved divisive among fans and is currently the second low…

J.J. Abrams has insisted the opinions of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s critics are as valid as those who loved it.

The third instalment in the sci-fi franchise, which Abrams directed, has proved divisive among fans and is currently the second lowest-rated live-action Star Wars movie on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Following a screening of the film at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood on Friday, the director was asked what he would say to those who have been left disappointed by the trilogy’s conclusion, and he noted it was impossible to please everyone.

“I would say that they’re right. The people who love it more than anything are also right,” he replied. “I was asked just seven hours ago in another country, ‘So how do you go about pleasing everyone?’ I was like’ What…?’ Not to say that should be what anyone tries to do anyway, but how would one go about it? Especially with Star Wars.

“I don’t need to tell anyone here, we live in a moment where everything immediately seems to default to outrage. There is an MO of either: ‘It’s exactly as I see it, or you’re my enemy’ … It’s a crazy thing that there is such a norm that seems to be devoid of nuance and compassion – and this is not about Star Wars, this is about everything – it’s a crazy moment, so we knew starting this any decision we made – a design decision, a musical decision, a narrative decision – would please someone and infuriate someone else. And they’re all right.”

Despite the criticism, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac, has topped the U.S. box office chart after its three-day opening weekend, with takings of $175.5 million (£135 million).

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Daisy Ridley glad she wasn’t told storylines before filming Star Wars

Daisy Ridley was glad she wasn’t told any of the important plot details ahead of filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.The British actress, who was relatively unknown when she was cast as Rey in the movie back in 2014, has revealed that she was happy to…

Daisy Ridley was glad she wasn’t told any of the important plot details ahead of filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The British actress, who was relatively unknown when she was cast as Rey in the movie back in 2014, has revealed that she was happy to have been kept in the dark about the storyline of the 2015 blockbuster, directed by J.J. Abrams.

“I’m glad I didn’t have more information,” she told GQ magazine, before she explained how she was so oblivious to the inner workings of the movie business that she even managed to walk past Walt Disney Studios co-chairman Alan Horn without recognising him.

“It’s sort of hilarious, because I’d meet all these big important people and have no f**king idea who they were,” Daisy recalled. “I remember meeting him and he’s like, ‘I’m Alan,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, hey, nice to meet you’ and then I walk on. And now I’m like, ‘Oh, my God!’”

However, she’s glad that her naivety paid off, and she believes that it led to her ultimately getting the part.

“If any single thing had been different, maybe I wouldn’t have got it, so I’m so f**king glad for how it worked out,” she laughed.

Elsewhere in the interview, the 27-year-old shared her disappointment at people who think it was easy for her to land a role in Star Wars, noting that she had six months of auditions and test screening sessions before being cast.

“People are like, ‘This happened overnight,’” Daisy said. “But I started auditioning in August, got the job in February and started filming in May. It was all such a long process.”

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