John Boyega has revealed that he would have made different decisions to his Small Axe subject Leroy Logan, who left a career in science to join the police in the 1980s.
As depicted in the episode Red, White and Blue (which is based on a true story), racist attitudes were rampant among officers at the time, with Logan’s own father becoming a victim of police brutality.
This is one of many reasons why he found it hard to understand his son’s ambition to join the institution, which puts considerable strain on their relationship.
Boyega also needed time to understand Logan’s point of view. He had met? with Logan prior to filming where the Star Wars actor admitted that he would have acted differently under those circumstances.
“It was really about his decision making,” Boyega explained at a press event. “You have to understand that this is a Black man that decided that, especially when your community and your people don’t really support this institution, you decide to join.
“Especially when your father goes through a personal experience in which he is assaulted by two police officers, you still decide to join. So, I wanted to understand the man behind that decision, the man that’s strong enough to swallow the conflicts and give us the representation that the police force needed.
“And those questions were just based on me being honest, saying ‘bro, if it were me, I probably wouldn’t have handled it like this. But why did you make the decision you made?’ And understanding his intention really informed me about making sure the portrayal was accurate.”
Logan suffered racist abuse upon joining the force, but ultimately made his way up to the rank of Superintendent and was awarded an MBE in 2000 for his work within the Met.
His story is told in Red, White and Blue, one of five original films produced for the BBC series Small Axe, written and directed by Academy Award winner Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave).
Boyega has praised his experience working on the feature-length production and revealed that he is already planning a follow-up project with McQueen.
Small Axe premieres with Mangrove on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 15th November. While you’re waiting, visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight, or check out our guide to new TV shows 2020 to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.