John Boyega, the breakout star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, plays the lead role of Jake, wayward son of the legendary war hero Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), in Universal Pictures’ new epic action-adventure Pacific Rim Uprising.
The original Pacific Rim had made a big impression on Boyega, in the days before he broke out as a star. “Seeing Idris Elba in the first film was very important to me. At the time I was involved in acting on a small scale in drama clubs, and in 2013 I saw a print ad while I was on the bus—Idris Elba as Stacker in an all-black Jaeger suit. The image, and what it represented, immediately struck me and motivated me.”
Director Steven S. DeKnight offers, “John’s a classic hero, but can play the hero and the anti-hero at the same time. Jake Pentecost starts out as a thief and ends up saving the world. John has all the qualities you would want for that type of role; he’s charming, smart and funny. He brings a real Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones quality to the character.”
The film opens with Jake, under the cover of night, involved in a nefarious activity: stealing Jaeger parts from a PPDC scrapyard. He’s caught and presented with two options: face incarceration, or use his natural talents at the Moyulan Shutterdome, training young cadets.
On his character, Boyega expands: “Jake’s personality is nuanced and conflicted. He grew up in the shadow of his father, Stacker, and he’s battled with living up to the family name. He had aspirations to be a Jaeger pilot, and began training at the PPDC Academy, but they were halted after a confrontation with Stacker led him to rebel and follow a dangerous path. What follows that is his journey to becoming a hero.”
Boyega wanted Jake to possess an element of Stacker in terms of presence, energy and authority, but to be someone very different; for audiences to recognize the rebel in him that Stacker didn’t agree with. “That’s something that I decided to create based on how I saw myself when I was 16 and 17—a cocky kid with a little bit of mismanagement.”
That inspirational reaction the young Boyega had, on seeing Elba in the Pacific Rim poster a few years earlier, would be key to the overall impact the film sets out to have on its audience. “Ultimately, the film is about people coming together to fight for a common good, shares DeKnight. “It doesn’t matter where you came from—everybody has a chance to make a difference. Everybody has a chance to be a hero. That was a message that strongly spoke to all of us working on this movie, and we wanted to convey that to the younger audience.”
About Pacific Rim Uprising:
John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous “Kaiju.” Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy by his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi)—who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war. As they seek justice for the fallen, their only hope is to unite together in a global uprising against the forces of extinction.
Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (The Fate of the Furious’ Scott Eastwood) and 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (newcomer Cailee Spaeny), as the heroes of the PPDC become the only family he has left. Rising up to become the most powerful defense force to ever walk the earth, they will set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.
In Philippine cinemas Saturday, March 31, Pacific Rim Uprising is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. Use the hashtags #JoinTheUprising #PacificRimUprising