John Boyega has been down in Louisiana the past month shooting his latest film, the Jeremy Saulnier-directed Rebel Ridge, but according to new reports his work on the movie is coming to an abrupt end. For what have been cited as “family reasons," Boyega has had to leave the production, and now Netflix is on the hunt to find a replacement for him.
This news is breaking via Deadline, which has received official word of the development in the making of the new film. According to a spokesperson for the streaming service, the pause button is going to be hit on the production while the filmmakers find a new performer to take on John Boyega's role. The Star Wars actor is departing an ensemble that also includes AnnaSophia Robb, James Cromwell, Don Johnson, Emory Cohen, Zsane Jhe, Al Vicente, and James Badge Dale.
Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier as his follow-up to 2018's Hold The Dark (also a Netflix release), Rebel Ridge is project that has been keeping plot details very hush-hush, but genre wise it is said to be a mix of thriller, action movie, and dark comedy, and thematically it is said to '[explore] systemic American injustices." The statement from Netflix says that the company is "[looking] forward to continuing [their] partnership with John Boyega’s UpperRoom Productions," which presumably means that Boyega will remain a producer on the project following his departure. The production was originally planning to start principal photography last spring, but it had to be delayed due to the pandemic. According to the trade, the first day of production was on May 3. Saulnier's previous films include the thrillers Blue Ruin, and Green Room, and he also directed two episodes of True Detective Season 3.
Rebel Ridge is one of two Netflix projects that John Boyega has had in the works, the other being the sci-fi comedy They Cloned Tyrone – which is currently in post-production and co-stars Jamie Foxx and Teyonah Parris. An official release date has not been announced, but it will presumably be out before the end of the year, and the streaming service remains committed to its release.
Looking ahead, it was recently announced that John Boyega is now set to reteam with writer/director Joe Cornish for a sequel to Attack The Block, a project that will see him reprise what was his breakout role, and he is also attached to star in Gavin Hood's upcoming sci-fi drama The Test and Charles and Thomas Guard's action thriller Borderland. It's currently unclear how this news could impact those projects.
This is clearly not an ideal circumstance for anyone involved, and hopefully everything turns out ok. We here at CinemaBlend extend our best wishes to John Boyega as he handles his personal business.