EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures has set Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega for the lead role for the second installment of its Pacific Rim franchise. Steven S. DeKnight is directing the film, which will begin production in the fourth quarter of this year, based on the world created by Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham. Boyega will play the son of the character played by Idris Elba in the del Toro-directed original film. Universal will release the film worldwide, everywhere but China. The 2013 original grossed $411 million.
Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni, and del Toro will produce the action adventure film along with Boyega and Femi Oguns under their Upper Room Productions shingle. Cale Boyter is executive producer. The picture is a beach head project for Legendary, under the leadership of Parent, who became Tull’s vice chairman of Worldwide Production after Jashni exited to start his own venture. The principals have confirmed to Deadline they found their man in Boyega.
“It is undeniable that with all his talent and natural charm, John stands out amongst today’s generation of young leading men,” said Parent.
Said del Toro: “I am very proud and happy to welcome John into a fantastic sandbox. The Pacific Rim universe will be reinforced with him as a leading man as it continues to be a multicultural, multi-layered world. ‘The World saving the world’ was our goal and I couldn’t think of a better man for the job.”
Boyega, whose breakout came with Attack The Block, next stars with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson in The Circle, and follows The Force Awakens with Star Wars: Episode VIII, as well as the animated BBC miniseries Watership Down opposite James McAvoy and Ben Kingsley. Boyega will make his stage-starring debut on the West End in Woyzeck at The Old Vic, next year.
He is repped by WME and Identity Agency Group in the UK and Hansen Jacobson.