Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya is speaking out after Samuel L. Jackson questioned his casting in Jordan Peele’s satirical horror film Get Out. Jackson had wondered why the British actor was cast in the pic that tackles race in the U.S., instead of the role being given to an African-American who could better resonate with the theme. Jackson later clarified his remarks, saying that he was criticizing the Hollywood system in general, not the actor.
“Here’s the thing about that critique, though. I’m dark-skinned, bro,” Kaluuya told GQ, explaining that he has also experienced similar situations that many African-Americans have. “When I’m around black people, I’m made to feel ‘other’ because I’m dark-skinned. I’ve had to wrestle with that, with people going, ‘You’re too black.’ Then I come to America, and they say, ‘You’re not black enough.’ I go to Uganda, I can’t speak the language. In India, I’m black. In the black community, I’m dark-skinned. In America, I’m British. Bro!”
Adding that black people in the UK have also dealt with racism and segregation, Kaluuya explained how there aren’t many stories out there that tell their experiences. “So people get an idea of what they might think the experience is,” he expressed, touching on how Jackson stated, “some things are universal, but everything ain’t.”
“You’re getting singled out for the color of your skin, but not the content of your spirit, and that’s everywhere,” the actor continued. “That’s my whole life, being seen as ‘other.’ Not fitting in in Uganda, not Britain, not America. They just highlight whatever feature they want.”
“I really respect African-American people. I just want to tell black stories,” Kaluuya expressed. “This is the frustrating thing, bro — in order to prove that I can play this role, I have to open up about the trauma that I’ve experienced as a black person. I have to show off my struggle so that people accept that I’m black. No matter that every single room I go to I’m usually the darkest person there. You know what I’m saying? I kind of resent that mentality. I’m just an individual. Just because you’re black, you taken and used to represent something. It mirrors what happens in the film. I resent that I have to prove that I’m black. I don’t know what that is. I’m still processing it.”
As for director Peele, he previously told The Observer that, once he wrapped his head around how universal the movie’s themes were, it was easy for him to cast Kaluuya “because at the end of the day, he was the best person for the role.”
Kaluuya recently was cast in Steve McQueen’s Widows, starring Viola Davis.
Meanwhile, Get Out has been a box office hit, becoming Blumhouse’s fastest title to cross the $100 million mark. The Universal release, which cost only an estimated $4.5M before P&A, crossed the mark this weekend, earning a total of $111.05M.