John Boyega has told Sky News that “more help needs to be given” to struggling veterans.
The British actor was speaking ahead of the release of his latest film Breaking, based on a true story, which sees him play a Marine Corps veteran who tries to rob a bank to ease his financial problems.
On the way in which his character is treated, he said: “It is very clear that more help needs to be given, and more perspective needs to be understood, especially by other people who may not have veterans in their family… for them to then understand what that feels like, what that ordeal is like.
“I think it opens up a very, very important perspective.”
He added he hoped the film would “open your eyes to… a system that had somewhat failed people who were going to fight for the country and then come back and try to integrate back into society and struggle.
“It gives you an insight into their lives, too, and I hope it continues the conversation.”
Boyega, who is best known for roles in Star Wars and The Woman King, plays Brian Brown-Easley, who died after holding up a Wells Fargo bank in 2017.
He had missed his rent and was facing homelessness after his disability cheque failed to materialise, causing him to try to get assistance by any means possible.
Talking about how he connected to Brown-Easley, Boyega told Sky News: “I think it was most definitely empathy, but more so just as an actor looking at the shocking details of the story, the amount he was fighting for, what he had been through, his mental health.
“And then the writing was amazing.”
He added to get into the headspace, “we had various different ways of doing it”.
“But I guess it definitely started off with the prep rehearsals, getting the details, research about Brian, not just about the day and the event that happened, but about who he was before that interests.
“He was a nerd… he liked sci-fi and comic books, all that kind of stuff, and then implementing that into it – so it definitely was a long process.”
Breaking is available to buy digitally from 27 March.