John Boyega ‘blown away’ by script for tragic bank heist film ‘Breaking’
John Boyega has recalled being “blown away” by the script for his social injustice bank heist film ‘Breaking’.
The Star Wars actor, 31, played real-life depressed US Marine Corps veteran Brian Brown-Easley in the 2022 movie, who calmly walked into a Wells Fargo branch in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2017 and threatened to set off the bomb he claimed was in his backpack unless he was paid $892 he was owed in disability benefits that had been brutally cut off in a bureaucratic move which plunged him into poverty.
Boyega told NME about loving the script, co-written by the film’s first-time feature director Abi Damaris Corbin with British dramatist Kwame Kwei-Armah: “I read it; I was blown away by it. I read it as if I was watching the movie.
“I liked the complication and the duality of his character.
“So much going on: the PTSD he’s going through; not having access to his daughter… .”
Boyega also loved that Easley was a movie and comics nerd, and was jokey and gentle – completely at odds with the man trying to pull off his desperately sad bank heist.
Easley was shot in the head with a single bullet by Cobb County Police Department Officer Dennis Ponte, a sniper on the force with a military past.
He had been hiding in the woods and had let his commanders know he had a clean shot.
Boyega says the marksman was “basically influenced by the same kind of stereotypical fear that causes these hasty violent situations”.
He was referring to “situations” such as the police killing of George Floyd – whose 2020 death drove Boyega to join thousands of others on a Black Lives Matter protest in London on June 3 that year.
He famously said in an impromptu speech howled through a megaphone at the demonstration: “Black lives have always mattered.”
Boyega then battled tears to tell protestors: “We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd.
“We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence. For Mark Duggan.”
Kwei-Armah said one of the reasons Boyega was wanted for ‘Breaking’ was the intensity he showed on the march.
He told NME that because the film’s action was rooted in one space, the role of Easley required an actor who “can carry interiority” and an actor who could portray his “angered dignity”.
Director Corbin agreed: “(Boyega) can capture with his eyes what I couldn’t do with two pages of exposition of showing you a scene. You see the past unveiled in his eyes.”