John Adedayo Bamidele Adegboyega (born 17 March 1992), better known as John Boyega, is an English actor and producer. He initially rose to prominence for his role as Moses in the sci-fi comedy film Attack the Block (2011) and later became best known for playing Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy films The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). His other credits include the drama film Imperial Dreams (2014), the historical drama film Detroit (2017), the science fiction film Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018), and four episodes of the television series 24: Live Another Day. He received the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2016.
Boyega was born John Adedayo Bamidele Adegboyega in the Peckham district of London on 17 March 1992, the son of Abigail (née Aboderin), who works with disabled people, and Samson Adegboyega, a Pentecostal minister. His parents are both of Nigerian descent. His first role was as a leopard in a play while at Oliver Goldsmith Primary School. While acting in another play there at the age of nine, he was noticed by Teresa Early, the artistic director of Theatre Peckham, a learning theatre for young people who live in south London. He would spend his time there outside school hours between the ages of nine and 14. Boyega's father wanted Boyega to become a minister like himself, but was nonetheless supportive of his theatrical interests. In 2003, Boyega started his secondary education at Westminster City School, where he took part in various school productions. Between 2008 and 2010, he attended South Thames College at the college's Wandsworth campus to study for a National Diploma in Performing Arts. His activities at the college included playing the title role in the college's production of Othello. He enrolled at the University of Greenwich to study for a BA in film studies and media writing, but dropped out to focus on acting. He trained with the Identity School of Acting in London, and became a patron of its Los Angeles branch when it opened in 2018.
Boyega trained at the Identity School of Acting in Hackney, and appeared in Six Parties at the National Theatre and Category B at the Tricycle Theatre prior to being offered a role in the 2011 film Attack the Block. In September 2011, HBO announced that Boyega had been cast in the boxing drama pilot Da Brick, loosely based on Mike Tyson's life. Boyega was expected to play Donnie, who is released from a juvenile detention centre on his 18th birthday and begins to examine what it means to be a man. The pilot was written by John Ridley, but was not picked up by HBO. Also in 2011, he acted in the film Junkhearts in which he portrayed Jamal, a drug dealer who finds some guns and tries to sell them.
Boyega was chosen by Fionnuala Halligan of Screen International as one of the "UK Stars of Tomorrow 2011" and appeared alongside two other actors on the front cover of that magazine in its July 2011 edition. In March 2012, Boyega was cast in the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's book Half of a Yellow Sun. On 29 April 2014, it was confirmed that Boyega had been cast as a lead character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was later revealed Boyega would play Finn, a stormtrooper for the First Order, who leaves the military power after witnessing their cruelty in his first combat mission before joining the fight against them. The film was released on 18 December 2015. Both the film and Boyega's performance received acclaim from both audiences and critics.
In 2017, Boyega starred in Detroit, Kathryn Bigelow's film about the 1967 Detroit riots. The same year, he reprised his role as Finn in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
In January 2016, Boyega formed his own production company, Upperroom Entertainment Limited. His company co-produced Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018), the sequel to the 2013 movie Pacific Rim, alongside Legendary Entertainment. Boyega also starred in the lead role of the film, Jake Pentecost.
In November 2018 it was announced that Boyega would be starring alongside Letitia Wright in a novel adaption of Hold Back the Stars. Boyega has also been cast in Steve McQueen's upcoming mini-series Small Axe.
In 2018, Boyega subsequently reprised his role as Finn in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, released in 2019. During an interview with Good Morning America, Boyega acknowledged that he had accidentally left his script in a hotel room during filming. The script subsequently surfaced on eBay but was bought by a Lucasfilm employee to prevent it from being leaked.
In the 2020 Powerlist, Boyega was listed in the Top 100 of the most influential people in the UK of African/African-Caribbean descent.