‘Small Axe’: John Boyega and the Search for ‘Real, Significant, Proactive Work’

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Comprised of five films, “Small Axe,” Steve McQueen’s new series for Amazon Prime Video, tells a multitude of stories that chart Black British culture and experience. The historical anthology — consisting of “Mangrove” (November 20), “Lovers Rock” (November 27), “Red, White and Blue” (December 4), “Alex Wheatle” (December 11), and “Education” (December 18), all directed by McQueen — is pioneering in its depiction of these previously untold tales. Premiering on November 20, one film will be released every week, and the collection should be a compelling and necessary watch.

“Red, White and Blue” is particularly poignant at this time because it deals with race relations between the police and the Black community in Britain, along with one man’s efforts to change institutional racism from within. It focuses on Leroy Logan — one of the first Black British police officers to join the force in the face of racism — and stars John Boyega in his first role since 2019’s “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” where he played the wide-eyed, boyish extrovert Finn. Logan is an entirely different kind of character with a base and maturity, astuteness and subtlety. And for Boyega, this was an opportunity to take on an entirely different role and to work with McQueen for the first time.

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