John Boyega in the driver’s seat in "Pacific Rim: Uprising"
Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures(NEW YORK) — Star Wars star John Boyega is in the driver’s seat — both onscreen and behind the scenes — in the new sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising.
Boyega plays Jake Pentecost, the hotshot son of Idris Elba’s fallen hero Stacker Pentecost from the first film, and while like his dad, his character pilots a giant robot known as a jaeger, Boyega was also helping to drive the movie, as a producer.
The 2013 original, which was directed by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro, saw humanity banding together and building giant robots to beat up giant monsters called kaiju.
When it came to a sequel, Boyega tells ABC Radio he was all in: “I loved the first film, and I actually watched it because of Idris. I saw him for the first time in an article [with a picture] of him in a drive [pilot] suit, and I was very, very intrigued…[S]o getting involved in it, and expanding that universe was for me something so exciting.”
Part of selling the illusion that a giant robot can walk — let alone fight — is the movie’s cockpit, or com-pod scenes, which show the actors in the robots’ heads, physically mimicking the moves the jaegers make. It’s physical work, with the performers strapped into armored drive suits, and then onto hydraulic controls.
For Scott Eastwood, who plays rival pilot Lambert, the driving scenes definitely don’t look as cool “on the day” as they do onscreen. “I think there might have been a moment or two you feel a little silly, but once they interlay the CGI, and the music, and the score, and they put everything together you just are completely sucked into the story…”
Pacific Rim Uprising hits theaters today.
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