John Boyega is about to have quite a moment. In just under three months, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released onto the world and the 23 year old actor will become a massive star thanks to his lead role as Finn. What becomes of him in the years to come will be largely predicated on the quality of his work, of course, since Hayden Christensen had the same opportunity when he was cast as young Anakin Skywalker and then faded into oblivion right after the prequels wrapped up. But Boyega seems to think that The Force Awakens is an incredibly powerful film, and so we likely don’t need to worry about him disappearing into obscurity.
Oh, and he loves his character.
In a chat with GQ, Boyega had this to say about his experience reading J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan’s script for the seventh episode in the Skywalker saga:
“When I read the script I cried, and I’m not really a big crier… I’m more like a frog-in-the- throat kind of guy, who’ll try to hold it in and make sure I don’t let it all out.”
Continuing on that thread, Boyega was struck by how well-written his character was:
“Finn is dope. His story is so epic. It’s a story that’s never been seen before, but it also mirrors the stories of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. And he’s quirky and charismatic and funny. For me, he was the best character in the script.”
The actor also recalls what it took to land this once-in-a-lifetime role:
“I was unleashed into seven months of auditions. It was like ‘The X Factor’ but without the TV show around it. It was intense.”
On a lighter, err…heavier note, Boyega also talks about what it was like to wield one of those deceptively sturdy lightsabers:
“They’re heavy, those things, and there’s a lot of running involved. I was trained on a high incline treadmill so when it came to it I could sprint around the desert in a leather jacket. They should do a Star Wars weight loss program.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out on December 18.