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Before John Boyega became known for playing Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he made a film called Imperial Dreams, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. Years later, the story of a young father’s post-prison struggles is poised for release on Netflix with a new trailer.
Set in Los Angeles and filmed on location in the Imperial Courts projects, Imperial Dreams stars Boyega as Bambi, juggling his responsibilities as a father with his dreams of becoming a writer as he readjusts to the violent world outside of prison.
“There’s always going to be poverty,” producer Jonathan Schwartz told EW at Sundance, where critics raved about Boyega’s performance. “We wanted to make a film that’s socially important, but not preachy and not cliché.”
The film is directed by Malik Vitthal, who also wrote the screenplay with Ismet Prcic. It’s work like this that’s made Boyega a commodity in Hollywood, leading him to land roles in Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit riots film, the sequel to Pacific Rim, and this year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Imperial Dreams premieres on Netflix next Friday. Watch the trailer above.