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John Boyega Talks Breaking, Working with Michael K. Williams and More

You can rent ‘Breaking’ on all digital platforms now.



One of my career highlights thus far has been speaking with the great John Boyega. I wasn’t joking when I told him I was a freshman in high school when I first saw The Force Awakens — much to his disbelief. I only had a few minutes with Boyega, but he exudes a personable energy that made it so easy to speak with him — especially after being in a waiting room for the better part of an hour.

Breaking is a truly great film and harkens back to one of my favorite Al Pacino films, Dog Day Afternoon, but is even more grounded and personal. This may be Boyega’s best performance yet, and the combination of that and strong directing from Abi Damaris-Corbin make for one of 2022’s most underrated gems. You can rent it now on all digital platforms.

In this interview, Boyega discusses the differences between blockbuster and indie filmmaking, working with the late Michael K. Williams and what he hopes audiences take away from the film.

John’s reaction to my Pacific Rim joke.

Coastal House Media: Hi John, it’s a real honor to meet you. When I first saw The Force Awakens, I was still in high school — I think I was a freshman — and I just graduated college now. So this is kind of a full-circle thing for me. So, thank you for your time.

John Boyega: [smiling] Appreciate it. 

CHM: And congratulations on Breaking, your performance is amazing. But before I get into that, let me just ask you first, how’s your day going? 

Boyega: My day’s going good, I think we’re gonna be done a little bit early, which is not too bad. 

CHM: Well, you’ve done such a wide range of projects, you know, films, the size of the — I don’t know — the robots in Pacific Rim

Boyega: [laughs]

CHM: …and then also smaller scale films. Is there anything that you take from the experiences that you’ve had on those bigger budget films that you apply to smaller films, maybe like Breaking

Boyega: I think the process remains the same in terms of approaching a character, I guess the only stage that’s very different is that [there’s] research for a lot of films that are based on true stories whereas with bigger things, [there’s] much more imagination. It’s like, “Can the robot do this?” I could be more imaginative, I could be much more of a kid whereas in these movies, I gotta be an adult, [I’ve] gotta listen, [I’ve] gotta understand the facts and then use that to perform. 

CHM: I just heard an interview on the Today show where you talked about the research process for Breaking. You spoke with the real ex-wife of Brian, who you play in the film. So I’m sure that she gave you things that you probably could base your performance on — which is great — but is there anything in the film that was just you and [not] provided to you [by Brian’s ex-wife] that you just added into your performance?

A still from Breaking. Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street.

Boyega: I think there was definitely a whole bunch of improv that was in a few scenes, but I haven’t watched it in such a long [so] I can’t pinpoint where. But there was a frustrating moment when Brian puts up the bomb remote and he starts to go in about the kind of attention that he needs — especially when he is talking to the reporter. [In] a lot of those moments, I was just angry as a character. I dunno if Abi [Damaris-Corbin] did it on purpose, [but when] I’d pick up the phone and it would go to another line and then it would be so complicated [and I’d] just start getting frustrated, start shouting, and that in itself was what we used [at] various times to just get an energy and also to show the frustrations that he was going for. 

CHM: I was gonna ask about what you had to channel in those moments, but I guess you kind of answered that [laughs], but the film is kind of heavy, right? It, it’s not necessarily a “fun watch,” so it’s hard for me, the viewer, to imagine that there were fun times on set. But were there any fun memories that you have off-camera? 

Boyega: Yeah. Michael K. Williams worked on this, which was fun and having him around was a good time. Me and Olivia Washington had a good time on this as well, loads of laughs in the conversations, so there were definitely good times. 

But yeah, it wasn’t like a studio film where you get bored and you wanna go steal the golf buggy and plan tricks and do all that kind of stuff [smiles] — it felt much more controlled in that sense.  

A still from Breaking. Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street.

CHM: As I said earlier, you based a lot of your performance on the notes you were given from Brian’s real-life ex-wife but were there any films you did look at to base your performance on? My mind kept going back to Dog Day Afternoon, of course, given that the settings are similar, but are there any films you looked at when prepping for this film? 

Boyega: Yeah, I actually haven’t watched Dog Day Afternoon, but I’ve heard that being mentioned a lot of times, but I’m gonna go see it and there’s that throughline. But no, I don’t ever watch other films to give me [inspiration for] what to do for another [film]. It just wouldn’t work that way because of the detail of Brian and then also at the same time, what myself and Abi are plotting, so it’s literally through Brian’s story, through my collaboration with Ab,i and in moments that we see on set, that gives you the performance that you got.

CHM: What do you kind of hope audiences are taking away from Breaking and can you kind of sell the film to somebody who might not know anything about it? 

Boyega: Yeah, for me, it’s about [the] audience having a sense of empathy and insight into a lifestyle that you may not understand. Imagine a member of your family [gets] drafted to go and fight a war, they come back, and then they aren’t given the support that they needed and what happens when that person now goes and holds up a Wells Fargo bank to get that money?

So yeah, that’s what I would say. I mean, [those] circumstances of feeling frustrated and not heard it’s something all of us can relate to you or we felt during our lives to a certain extent. So it’ll be interesting to see this in the circumstance, in which you’ve done the best you can for your country, but you’re not supported. 

Breaking is available to rent on digital platforms now.


Andrew is an entertainment journalist and film "critic" who has written for the likes of Above the Line, Below the Line, Collider, Film Focus Online, /Film and The Hollywood Handle among others. Leader of the Kaitlyn Dever Fanclub.

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EXCLUSIVE | Alma Poysti and Jussi Vatanen On How ‘Fallen Leaves’ Became Such a ‘Learning’ Experience



Jussi Vatanen and Alma Poysti at 'Fallen Leaves' premiere at the BFI London Film Festival (Getty Images)

Fallen Leaves premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to win the Jury Prize. On the other hand, Aki Kaurismäki’s direction, screenplay, and performances by Alma Pöysti & Jussi Vatanen received critical acclaim. Finland has decided to send the MUBI film for Best International Feature at the 96th Academy Awards.

Apart from being praised at several prestigious festivals, the Finnish movie has received a lot of love from the viewers in its theatrical run. Whether it is storytelling or acting performances, the Aki Kaurismaki directorial is getting the recognition it deserves. Alma Poysti and Jussi Vatanen are impeccable in their roles and continue to take the audiences by storm. Luckily, I, on the behalf of Coastal House Media, had the opportunity to speak with both stars at the movie’s press conference earlier this week. We discussed how their experience on stage aided in preparing for such complex roles.

Alma Poysti and Jussi Vatanen in ‘Fallen Leaves’ (MUBI)

Both the actors have been astonishing on the stage, but we all know that movies are a different ball game. I asked how they mentally processed the acting experience while starring in Fallen Leaves and although they shared different anecdotes from what they learnt while shooting the film, both actors admitted that they were “grateful” for this experience. While answering the question, Poysti said she loved how silence can also mean so much in movies and it’s something that she is still processing. She said, “I’m so inspired and so grateful for this experience, and the amount of humanity that runs through our roles. Work is so beautiful and it actually means something to people. This kind of purity inspires me to investigate how much can you take away and when less is actually more. Also, you have to be quite brave to let the camera in when you are taking off the masks and taking away the pretending.”

“Being as bare as one dares can create a fascinating and beautiful space. Trusting the silence reveals a silent dialogue within and between characters, where few words are needed but carefully chosen, with nothing extra. I’m still processing and enjoying contemplating this concept,” Poysti added.


Meanwhile, Vatanen echoed the same sentiment and credited the filmmaker to make things so easy for them. He said, “It definitely was a learning process and we got to witness old-fashioned filmmaking that is so minimalistic. I and Poysti, we both learned how can you achieve a lot by doing so much little and deliver a lot of emotions by just being present in that moment. Of course, Aki is there to help us and you just need to follow what he is trying to paint on the canvas. So, it took away all the pressure.

The actors also shared that the movie was filmed in a mere 20 days, jokingly noting that they’ve spent more time discussing the film than actually shooting it.

Fallen Leaves in currently playing in theatres across the US.

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EXCLUSIVE | ‘Joram’ star Manoj Bajpayee Reveals He Never Takes Time To Get Out Of His Characters: ‘Never Had The Luxury…”



Actor Manoj Bajpayee is known for playing intense roles. From Bhiku Mhatre in ‘Satya’ to Professor Siras in ‘Aligarh,’ Bajpayee has always enthralled us with his impeccable acting performances. His upcoming movie, ‘JORAM,’ is no different and sees him playing an immigrant labourer.

In Joram, skillfully directed by Devashish Makhija, we follow the poignant journey of Dasru, an immigrant laborer. His life takes a harrowing turn when his beloved wife is tragically murdered, and he finds himself entangled in a relentless and unforgiving system determined to defeat him at all costs. Faced with unimaginable challenges, Dasru makes a desperate choice to protect his infant daughter, Joram, and embarks on a daring escape to his long-forgotten homeland nestled deep within remote forests.

The movie, which was screened at this year’s JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, received a standing ovation from the audiences. Bajpayee, who was present at the screening of the film, opened up about how he prepared for the role of Dasru and how he manages to come out of them.

While responding to a question posed EXCLUSIVELY by COASTAL HOUSE MEDIA journalist Aayush Sharma, the renowned actor revealed that he drew upon his personal experiences of originating from a humble village to authentically portray the character of Dasru.

“I come from a village. My journey has been very, very long. I have met several people. Such has been my journey that I don’t need to go to jhopadpatti to play a jhopadpatti guy. There are so many experiences stored here (points to his brain). I had to simply refresh m memories from my childhood. That’s how my character Dasru cam alive to me. I felt like I had seen him before. I just had to construct him for this film,” Bajpayee said.

Manoj Bajpayee (Instagram/@bajpayee.manoj)

On the other hand, the ‘Gulmohar’ star admitted that he never had the luxury of taking a lot of time to get a character out of his mind. Bajpayee added, “As to how I come out of it, I jump to my next film (laughs). Nowadays directors like Devashish Makhija are very, very demanding. They just want to suck you in and want you to forget everything and take a plunge in their world. I try to be a sincere listener to my directors. It’s in my DNA that I don’t get nostalgic about my films. All of us actors are like that. We find our ways to approach our actors. When we don’t work, we try to relax and go back to reading, spending time with family, etc. However, I have heard several actors taking a lot of time to come out of their characters. That is a luxury I’ve never had.”

The film also stars Smita Tambe, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub and Tannishtha Chatterjee in pivotal roles. ‘Joram’ is scheduled to hit theatres on December 8.

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INTERVIEW | Petersen Vargas, Kaori Oinuma, and Gillian Vicencio Talk Filipino Dark Comedy ‘A Very Good Girl’ and Its Overwhelming Success: ‘A Big Achievement For Us’



Kaori Oinumo, Petersen Vargas, and Gillian Vicencio (Instagram)

With movies like ‘Parasite’ and ‘Shoplifters receiving worldwide praise, there is no doubt that Asian cinema is finally getting the recognition it deserves and it is in no mood to stop at all. Joining the bandwagon is Petersen Vergas’ new movie ‘A Very Good Girl,’ starring Dolly De Leon and Kathryn Bernardo in the lead roles. The movie tells the story of Philo (Bernardo) and what happens when she is fired from her job by a stylish retain mogul named Mother Molly (De Leon). However, things go out of control after the firing as Philo embarks on a journey to take revenge and is certain about how she wants to destroy Molly’s empire.

Apart from Bernardo and De Leon, the film also stars two young stars of Filipino cinema – Gillian Vicencio (Joenna) and Kaori Oinuma (Rigel) – who have surprised everyone with stunning performances. As per our review, ‘A Very Good Girl‘ is a roller-coaster ride, filled with brilliant performances, high fashion, and superb production design. Its captivating narrative and visually stunning presentation keep audiences engaged and entertained from beginning to end. The film has received a lot of praise from critics as well as viewers for its storytelling, acting performances, and visually stunning production design.

Coastal House Media caught up with the director Petersen Vargas and actors Gillian Vicencio and Kaori Oinuma to learn more about the creative process and what kind of preparations went into making ‘A Very Good Girl’ such a massive success.

You are working with two of the biggest stars in Asian Cinema, Kathryn Bernardo and Dolly De Leon. Were the roles specifically written for them and they were the first choices for playing Molly and Philo? Also, do you think that the world will be surprised by their Mukti-layered performances?

Vargas: Yes! So, the way we developed the material like we were already thinking of Kathryn and De Leon. So yeah, those roles were tailor-made for them. But what was surprising was what they added to the roles because their performances provided more depth to the characters. It’s surprising because as you’ve said, Kathryn hasn’t done a role like this. So, I think a lot of people were very pleasantly surprised and embraced her character. Viewers call it the new era of Kathryn Bernardo. Meanwhile, as far as Dolly De Leon, I already knew she was gonna kill it, but seeing it in person, directing her, and seeing what she’s done for the film, it still amazes me I could never get tired of watching her thing.

Kathryn Bernardo and Dolly De Leon in ‘A Very Good Girl’ (AVGG)

Kaori, you are the jack of all spades. You are a dancer, model, and actress and you can sing as well. The future of Asian Cinema or Filipino cinema is looking bright when people see you on the screen. But what was the first instance where you felt that acting is something I want to do professionally and make my career in?

Kaori: Oh, my gosh! I fell in love with acting while doing my first-ever project, I wasn’t good at that time and even now, I know that there’s a lot to improve. But I just realized that for me, I realized that when you act, you’re free to do whatever you want to, to feel the needs of your character, and as a person, I am not that free. I think I want to dive into acting just because I want to be free, as a person, I can’t wait for that time that I’m free.

Kaori Ounima (Instagram/@kaori_oinuma)

Gillian, your character, Joenna, is one of the most important ones and takes the movie in a whole new direction. When the script came to you and you got to know that you were playing this character, what was your first thought and what kind of preparations went in to make sure you nailed the character?

Gillian: You know, when they offered me this role, I just really accepted it, right there and then. But when I read the script, I understood the struggle and the pain of the people who are being taken advantage of, and for me, it’s important for this kind of situation to be known and to be represented. So, no matter how sensitive the topic was or what was going on with the character? I think it was time to spark some discussion about it, especially here in the Philippines. So, I discussed the creatives and directors about the backstory of the hierarchy, and I just did my best to portray it. I just hope that I did justice to the topic because it’s very important, it’s very, crucial.

Gillian Vicencio (@_gillianvicencio)

Outfits play a very important role in this movie because it shows two very distinctive personalities of every character. Was that always a part of the movie? Or you thought of giving the story a spin by including this aspect while shooting.

Vargas: I think it was very much part of the DNA of ‘A Very Good Girl,’ just because it was like a showdown for me and costume design was very key in getting a glimpse of these characters. Like, once you see what those characters were, you’ve kind of like get to know them already, just from that visual. So, it was very important because we wanted to take this campy route very, very seriously. (laughs) I wanted it to be very over the top, I wanted it to be extravagant. So it was fun and because I think Philo’s character is a superhero. Like she, she dresses down to like her normal self, and then suddenly just transforms into a superhero with her with her killer outfits. Yeah, I think I’ve always just envisioned this film ending with two beautiful women in long gowns, but like, you know, like, a drip in blood and jewels. That was always the vision. So yes, definitely, outfits were a big part of the storytelling.

Kathryn Bernardo and Dolly De Leon in a still from ‘A Very Good Girl’ (Tremendous)

So, the movie has been released and it got amazing reviews. How are you guys feeling after the amazing reviews/social media reactions and do you think such reactions would be able to tell the world that Filipino cinema is back with a bang?

Vargas: The response has been very overwhelming. We are very grateful that we are successful at the box office and people are flocking to the cinemas, giving this film a chance. It’s just a pleasure to see those seats filled out. We’re very grateful and I liked how people started talking about the important themes of the film. Of course, we wanted to engage the audiences in a very fun way in this dark comedy journey, but beneath that, it was very important for us that people talked about the important topics of being good and accountable and this whole story of womanhood. So yeah, I appreciate it a lot and I hope that the audiences outside of the Philippines could feel the same way and support the movie in the same manner.

Gillian: I agree with Peterson. We came out from a pandemic and the Philippine cinema was not doing good. But, we are finally having viewers in theatres right now because of ‘A Very Good Girl’ and I’m very happy that ‘A Very Good Girl’ is the first Filipino film to premiere in Hollywood. So that’s a very big achievement for us and that’s one of the reasons why I’m so happy and grateful. It’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelming. I’m just happy with the way people are receiving the movie. Thank you so much for appreciating our work.

Kaori: I think they said it all. Seeing people go back to the cinemas is a very big achievement for me and all of us. The responses and the praises for the movie, I mean, Oh my gosh, it’s overwhelming. The best thing is that people are now open to the new genre and they’re committed to us as well. We love them. We love very good people.

A Very Good Girl‘ is currently playing in theatres across the US.

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