Star Wars actor John Boyega has said he “finds it hard to even gather his thoughts” on the violence in Charlottesville and the parallels it has with his new film about racist brutality.
Arriving at the London premiere of Detroit, his co-star Will Poulter said the violence from Nazis and white supremacists at the weekend was a “true regression” for humanity and called for US President Donald Trump to be impeached.
Boyega, who plays a security guard assigned to protect a shop from looters during the Detroit riots in July 1967, has been sharing videos of the violence in Charlottesville on Twitter and said the abuse and racism portrayed in the new movie, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, feel all too modern.
He told the Press Association: “It’s crazy. I find it hard to even gather my thoughts on it, it’s so unexpected and unfortunate. It’s mad, the world is changing.”
The London-born star added when he was shooting the film he had hoped it would draw further attention to the shooting of Mike Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, the death of Sandra Bland in police custody and of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by a neighbourhood watch volunteer.
He continued: “At the time the Sandra Bland conversation was happening. Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and all these other young victims who unfortunately passed away were on my mind because I was thinking would this spark up something for their cases? Will the conversations ramp up again about those particular people?
“We didn’t know what was going to happen in the last few days, it’s unfortunate.”
Speaking about when he first read the script, he said: “My first reaction was shock and surprise that this kind of story was being handled at this time, which is a sensitive time as we all know.
“I had full faith in Kathryn and I was curious to find out whether the respect would be there, the integrity, being as it is a story that crosses cultures and requires perspective and understanding.
“Where she did not understand she asked questions and for where she did understand she surprised me and it was a great experience working with her on this.”
Poulter, who plays a Detroit police officer in the film, said the violence in Charlottesville and its parallels to the film made him feel “depressed.”
He added: “I think for a lot of people it’s hard to believe it’s even happening.
“It feels like a true regression as far as the human race is concerned and it just speaks to the need for people like Donald Trump to be impeached, we can’t afford to have individuals like that in positions of that kind of power.”
Bigelow added: “It’s really astonishing (to see the parallels).
“I think of the film, in my humble opinion as an indictment against the pervasiveness of racism and then these events seem to document the continuation of it and I think we need to address the inequity in my country for sure.”
Detroit is released in the UK on August 25.