The loss of Michael K. Williams will loom large in Hollywood for a long time, but it’s more present than ever with the release of Scenes From My Life, his posthumous memoir, and Breaking, one of his final film projects. Star John Boyega has had nothing but praise for the older actor during Breaking’s press tour; asked by The A.V. Club’s own Jack Smart what his presence contributed to the project, Boyega says, “Everything, everything.”
“I mean, the main reason you’re going to be called is because of the work that you’ve done before,” he explains. “And I knew this was a favor, as well—Michael didn’t have to come down and do our movie, do a few weeks of work. I knew he was in town and I wanted to collaborate with him and he accepted. He collaborated well.”
“We had a process—because most of our scenes are on the phone—where the other actor had to come on set and literally fold themselves in the corner and read the off lines. But Michael would come fully prepared and emotionally engaged,” Boyega continues. “When you watch the movie and Brian has all these emotional reactions and you think, Wow, they’re on the phone, it’s really because Michael was there. And that presence in itself helps inform the whole film and helps elevate the whole film. For me, that’s just something that only a skillful actor could bring. And that’s what he is.”
Earlier this week, the Star Wars alum further reflected on his experience with Williams at the Breaking premiere. Speaking to Variety on the red carpet, he recalled, “He was bubbly. The first time I met him, he accidentally walked into my trailer. We spoke, and we cheered each other on, gave each other words of encouragement, which is very important. And from then on, we were on set working. And it was great.”
To The Hollywood Reporter, he said he remembered “His clothes. The design of his clothes, his fashion sense. He smelled very nice. He had a very nice presence. I’m actually wearing his natural oils tonight because he gave me a bottle.” He added, “I also [remember Michael’s] work ethic. The versatility and the type of work he showed before is second to none. He had such an amazing career. We wanted him to just bless our small little movie and give it some grace. And he’s done just that.”
You can check out The A.V. Club’s full interview with Boyega here.