Tag Archives: Daisy Ridley’

2015 A Good Year – Happy Hols/New Year From Marlon Palmer (Kush Director)

Marlon Palmer
Director
18.12.15

 

Happy-Holidays

 

Greetings and salutations (Friends, Fans, Associates & Film Lovers),

It’s December (once again, LOL!) and almost time to end this year and bring in another New Year. Well after we have stuffed our faces, drank more than we can handle and immersed ourselves with family we both love and hate – well it’s got to be done!

This year from a film standpoint of view has been good, starting off with the January release of the much-talked about Selma and then Chris Rock’s ‘Top Five’ in May; two films we worked on. Paramount Pictures actually hired Kush Promotions & PR to market Top Five in 7 cities of the UK and allowed us to manage the budget. To allow us to manage the budget and nationwide-wide campaign was a justification of the 17 years of hard work and determination I have put in developing this business. After May PR work kind of dried up for us as the next big urban releases were from distributors who appear to have an issue with me/Kush; LOL! It appears I have told off the Head of International Marketing at both Sony Pictures and Universal over the years and I have not been forgiven TopFivePoster_smll(daam, I only told them the truth about their poor marketing of particular urban film) well seems like i’m “Blacklisted” – so be it – I will always speak my mind and tell the truth if some don’t like it, so be it! Was upset though, that we missed out on hip-hop films Dope and Straight Outta Compton; Sony & Universal film releases respectively.

Anyway the break away from Film-Marketing/PR was a Godsend (it was needed) as it allowed me to get back fully-focussed on the wide-ranging development of Kush Media. Something I wasn’t truly able to do for two straight years from October 2013 – May 2015 as Kush Promotions & PR became the go-to Specialist Independent PR Company marketing all black films month-after-month here in the UK (shhh! The remuneration was nice though). We also got to work on films like ‘Starred Up’ starring Jack O’Connell and The Maze Runner.

The breakaway allowed me to re-assess things and from that the ‘Kush Film Boutique’ was relaunched and in all that I do (even though it can be hard work) these days; I get the most satisfaction out of seeing the joy, dismay, shock, horror and amazement on patrons faces at our screenings – the wonders of film!

PR/Marketing work paid Kush well, and I strived hard to get to that position and be paid well but during the Top Five campaign earlier this year I realised that I wasn’t enjoying the work, it wasn’t why I started Kush Promotions back in 1998 and sitting in my office managing people (especially some of the difficult people I had to manage across the UK) became all so ‘Soulless’.

I had lost the joy of what I was doing daily and to wrap this part up – I believe in life to truly be successful you have to be fulfilling your life’s purpose and embracing daily the joy of all that you offer – once you lose that joy it’s time to reassess!

Anyway it’s going to be a very exciting end to the year with the massive impending release this week of Star Wars: The Force Awakens starring local Peckham Lad John Boyega whom we star-wars-force-awakens-posthankfully had time to meet whilst managing PR/Marketing for the film “Half A Yellow Sun” last year.

Straight away from speaking to John I knew he would be a star he was so down to earth, well-spoken and assured in his manner – definitely a star in the making and I said so at the time.

I can’t wait to see how well he exudes his persona off the big screen as the character ‘Finn’ in this massive blockbuster film; I’m sure he has done a fine job otherwise we would have heard already especially with all the earlier ignorant social media commotion about a “Black Stormtrooper”.

I won’t even go into that foolishness as it will bring down the tone of my newsletter and inveigle me into talking about dumb people from another galaxy!

Congratulations to rising star John Boyega and all the other British actors in the film (Daisy Ridley), and as a Star Wars fan it’s also great to see the old stars back; Harrison Ford as Hans Solo, Mark

John Boyega

Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and of course Chewbacca.

As you may have guessed I’m a sci-fi nut and love all films that expand our psyche to places unknown in the big ole galaxy. Bring on Superman vs Batman, Captain America: Civil War, Suicide Squad, Star Trek Beyond (with Idris Elba) and daam give me Black Panther now!!

Don’t forget get your tickets for ‘The Force Awakens’ this weekend! I’ve Got Mine

Wishing you all a fantastic Christmas, a blessed Kwaanza and a harmonious Eid plus a totally great New Year.

Keep Believing and doing!
Marlon Palmer

Peckham Lad John Boyega Hits The Stars in The Force Awakens

Courtesy of www.guardian.com
Written by Hermione Hoby
13.12.15

 

JohnBoyega_StarWars

John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Photograph: Film Frame/AP

The two things happened in a tight 90 seconds. First, there was ​the matter of pop cultural history being made. When Lucasfilm released a teaser trailer last month for The Force Awakens, the hugely anticipated seventhStar Wars movie that fans have waited a decade for, every detail in short duration seemed to become world talking points. In its first week the trailer generated a record-breaking 58.2 million views. Now, it’s been watched more than 75 million times.

It opens with a shot of desert and the tense violins of John Williams’s score. Then, in an epically laryngitic voiceover, come the words: “There has been an awakening … have you felt it?” And with them up pops the first face and the first character those 75 million pairs of eyes saw: a black guy, dressed in Stormtrooper uniform, sweating profusely and looking hunted.

Within minutes, the hashtag #blackstormtrooper was trending on Twitter. It brought with it the kind of diehard, narrow-minded nerdery that postulated a Stormtrooper shouldn’t be played by a black man because this fictional fighting force were all cloned from one, lighter-skinned, human descendant. It came, too, with even uglier comments, the kind that were unconscionably racist.

The second thing, then, that happened in those 90 seconds was the catapulting of John Boyega, a 23-year-old, largely unknown actor from south London, to a level of galactic fame. But Boyega seems to have been fazed neither by the size of the film franchise nor by the colour of his skin being a talking point on online message boards. In the wake of the first trailer, he issued a cheerful response over Instagram by posting a still of himself in Stormtrooper uniform and a short, celebratory message that ended with: “To whom it may concern… Get used to it :)”

Boyega had played just one lead film role before he was cast in the biggest franchise in the history of movies. This was the 2011 cult favourite, Attack the Block, a sci-fi comedy in which he was Moses, a south London teenager battling an alien invasion on a housing estate. Among the film’s admirers was the American critic Roger Ebert, who singled out Boyega’s performance by praising director Joe Cornish for making such a “fortunate discovery”.

It was another eminent fan, however, who changed the course of Boyega’s life. JJ Abrams, the writer-director-producer most famous for his work on the American TV series Lost, also saw the movie and loved it. When Abrams and Boyega met shortly afterwards, the director told him it was his favourite movie of 2011 and: “We’re going to get you in something.” Which Boyega took with a pinch of Hollywood salt. Lots of people were telling him they loved him in the film; he didn’t actually believe any of them meant much by it.

But then, four years later, Abrams did indeed cast him in “something” and that something happened to be Star Wars. The decision came only after putting Boyega through an intensive, seven-month auditioning process.

“It was hard,” Boyega told Time Out London last week. “And rightly so. If I bought a company for $4bn, I’d make sure those actors were on point!” (Disney bought Lucasfilm for that enormous sum in 2012.)

On the day that Abrams finally contacted him, Boyega was at a friend’s house in Catford, south London, playing video games. Wishing to appear insouciant, he told the director that he was on his way to an art gallery. Abrams told him to get in a cab to a Mayfair restaurant and Boyega did, thereby draining his bank account dry on the £70 fare. Once there, he heard the words: “John, you’re the new star of Star Wars,” and at some point in the next few moments it may have occurred to Boyega that he’d never have to worry about a cab fare again.

Some analysts have predicted that the movie will be the first ever to gross more than $3bn at the box office and the film is also expected to generate $100m in advance ticket sales alone. For Boyega, however, the real thrill seems to be not the big bucks but the glorious geekery of, for example, wielding a lightsaber for the first time, seeing himself cast as an action figure, or getting to stroke a Wookiee – the furry, humanoid creatures whose most famous member is Chewbacca, Han Solo’s sidekick.

Star Wars has been a pop-cultural phenomenon since the first, eponymous 1977 movie that made household names of three unknown actors: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo). As the mythology grew so dense and enormous, it demanded more detail and so the original movie came to earn the subtitle, Episode IV – A New Hope. Despite being born 15 years after this first instalment, Boyega has been happy to let the world know that he is, in the words of one magazine profile, “the galaxy’s biggest fanboy” and that he grew up watching the movies and earnestly collecting its merchandise.

Boyega was born in Peckham, south London, to a dad who was a minister and a mum who worked with disabled children; both immigrated from Nigeria before their son was born. He has described his childhood as “fantastic” and has talked about how much he loved performing at both Westminster City school and then at South Thames College, where he was a performing arts student. Nonetheless, he has had to shut down a certain narrative that some corners of the British press have been keen to push. When one newspaper ran a profile of the actor that described him growing up “on the tough streets where Damilola Taylor died”, Boyega slammed it in a succinct tweet: “Inaccurate. Stereotypical. NOT my story.” Boyega never knew Taylor, the 10-year-old boy who came from Nigeria and was stabbed to death in a Peckham stairwell, and the description of “gangs, guns and knives” didn’t chime with, for example, his memory of performing at the Royal Albert Hall when he was 13.

In more progressive and optimistic quarters, the “awakening” that the trailer’s voiceover refers to has been interpreted as the enlightenment of diversity – the slow and overdue change that finally seems to be coming over Hollywood. One writer characterised the original Star Warsmovies as “largely just a bunch of white American dudes fighting a bunch of white British dudes”, and it’s bewildering to remember that their only female character was Princess Leia, who spent a lot of time bikini-clad and bound by Jabba the Hutt. In this seventh movie, Carrie Fisher reprises her role as the newly named General Leia and is joined by a female lead, Daisy Ridley, a 23-year-old British newcomer, who plays the main role of Rey. And then of course there’s Boyega, who wears his status as some kind of champion of casting lightly.

Days ago, he was asked by the New York Times how he felt when some threatened to boycott the movie simply because it featured a black man as a Stormtrooper: “It made me feel fine. I’m grounded in who I am, and I am a confident black man. I wasn’t raised to fear people with a difference of opinion. They are merely victims of a disease in their mind. To get into a serious dialogue with people who judge a person based on the melanin in their skin? They’re stupid, and I’m not going to lose sleep over people.”

In another recent interview, he spoke about how the franchise now being “reflective of the world we live in today is fantastic”. He then joked: “Apart from the Wookiees and the green people. We’re giving them attention just in case that happens. You never know where the melanin is gonna go. It could go pink. You never know.”

He was also light-hearted about getting recognised. As he told the New York Times, people “know where this forehead comes from. They see it, and they go, ‘Hmm, looks like that Stormtrooper that’s sweating all the time.’”

Thanks to the high level, watertight secrecy that Abrams has insisted on, there aren’t many more details than that sweaty forehead. We do know that Boyega’s character is called Finn, that he’s a disaffected Stormtrooper who’s defected from his unit and that he’s in possession of the lightsaber that Luke and Anakin Skywalker owned before him.

Everything else will have to wait until the film launches on Friday. By which point the most overexcited fan may well be the star himself. As Boyega said recently: “If you hear someone at the back of the cinema screaming and laughing and crying, it’s probably me.”

THE BOYEGA FILE

Born John Boyega, 17 March 1992 in Peckham, south London, to Nigerian parents. He trained at east London’s Identity School of Acting.

Best of times Before his Star Wars “moment”, being chosen as one of Screen International’s UK Stars of Tomorrow 2011. More recently, being told by JJ Abrams that he was the new star of Star Wars: “Everything froze for a moment.”

Worst of times The racist online responses that followed the movie’s first teaser trailer in which Boyega appeared as a Stormtrooper.

He says “All the films I’ve done have had a secret commentary on stereotypical mentalities. It’s about getting people to drop a prejudiced state of mind and realise, ‘Oh shit we’re just watching normal people.’”

They say “All I know is John Boyega does an extraordinary job in the movie. The people who are complaining about that probably have bigger problems than, ‘there’s a black Stormtrooper’.”
​JJ Abrams

‘Big tings a gwaan’ for John Boyega

written by Lee Pinkerton
30/04/14

 

 

Star Wars: Episode VII cast announced as young British actors John Boyega and Daisy Ridley among the names to join original cast

star-wars-episode-7-release-date1On April 29th 2014 Starwars.com updated fans on the cast of the highly anticipated next installment of the epic sci-fi franchise.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill will all reprise their original roles as Hans Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker respectively.

Director J.J. Abrams said the team are “thrilled” to welcome new actors to the saga.

“We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII” said Abrams. “It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

attack-the-block-Boyega burst onto the scene in 2011 co-starring in the Joe Cornish-penned urban sci-fi drama Attack the Block and online Being Human spin-off series, Becoming Human.
Since then he was the lead role in BBC TV drama My Murder, enjoyed a supporting role in Nigerian blockbuster Half of a Yellow Sun, and will be appearing  in the upcoming series 24: Live Another Day.
Daisy Ridley’s acting CV is just as colourful with roles on ITV drama Mr Selfridge, BBC’s Silent Witness and popular E4 series Youngers.

It has already been confirmed that Star Wars: Episode VII  is scheduled for release on 18 December 2015 and will be set 30 years after Return of the Jedi.

Not wanting to rain on the parade but KUSH is wondering what happened to Billie Dee Williams’ role of Lando Calrissian?  Can the Star Wars franchise only accommodate one Black actor at a time?

lando-calrissian_

‘What do you mean ‘I’m not invited?’

Lee Pinkerton

Read John Boyega’s Star profile here