Here’s something you don’t see every day.
John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Attack the Block) has abruptly walked away from a new Netflix movie called Rebel Ridge exactly one month after the film began production. Netflix cited “family reasons” as the cause for Boyega’s departure, but it is incredibly rare for actors to leave movies mid-way through a shoot like this.
According to Deadline, John Boyega has left Rebel Ridge, the new movie from Blue Ruin and Green Room director Jeremy Saulnier, a month into production. The shoot, which has been happening in Louisiana, is currently on hold while a replacement actor is found, and it sounds like it won’t be long before that role is filled: Deadline says “someone is likely to be drafted in in the next few days.”
“Rebel Ridge is pausing temporarily as we look to re-cast John Boyega who needed to leave the project for family reasons,” Netflix said in a statement to the outlet. “We remain committed to Jeremy Saulnier’s extraordinary film and look forward to resuming production. We look forward to continuing our partnership with John Boyega’s UpperRoom Productions, in addition to our upcoming film They Cloned Tyrone in which he also stars.”
Specific plot details for Rebel Ridge have been hard to come by since the project was first announced in late 2019, but Variety once described it as “a high-velocity thriller that explores systemic American injustices through bone-breaking action sequences, suspense and dark humor.” Don Johnson, James Badge Dale, Zsane Jhe, James Cromwell, and Erin Doherty are still on board the movie, which is being produced by Anish Savjani, Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, and Saulnier and executive produced by Macon Blair and Louise Lovegrove.
I can’t recall a time – at least in recent history – in which a movie’s star has left a film’s production of their own volition this far into a shoot. It’s far more common for an actor to experience some creative differences with a filmmaker and walk away before filming begins, or to start a project and then get fired and replaced a few days in. But unless everyone involved in this situation is lying in order to try to save face, that is not what’s happening here. Hopefully everything is okay with Boyega’s family.
As for Saulnier, he previously directed the wolf-centric Netflix action drama Hold the Dark in 2018, and went on to direct two episodes of the third season of HBO’s True Detective. Rebel Ridge does not have a release date yet.
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