Not every American moviegoer may know that Daniel Kaluuya is English. Ever since Get Out, the actor has become a major Hollywood player, nabbing big time roles that, on top of inspiring great performance, have all required him to adopt a spotless American accent. But apart from one of Black Mirror’s most chilling episodes, it’s possible many have never seen him in anything British. Well, there’s a reason for that: Kaluuya recently claimed that he missed out on many key roles in his native country because of racism.
In a new interview with The Sunday Times (as caught by Entertainment Weekly), the Oscar-nominee, most recently of the hit Queen & Slim, opened up about how he’s even more successful in America than he is at home.
“I was going for a lot of stuff [in England],” he said. “But I wasn’t getting roles because of the color of my skin. It wasn’t fair. It was a trap.”
One example: ”I went up for this show. It was 10 rounds of auditions. There was me and a white guy for the lead. It was about aliens. And I realized as I was going to one audition that the other guy had been given an acting coach. They didn’t love me like they loved him.
“In any other profession, that would be weird, but it was accepted in mine,” he added. “It happened a few times, and I went, ‘Nah. I’m not an idiot.’”
Kaluuya’s comments come soon after the British Academy Film Awards, or BAFTAs, were criticized for only recognizing white actors in their most recent spate of nominations. A report in 2018 found that 94% of all BAFTA nominees were white. (Not that the Academy Awards are much better. Incidentally the Oscars will be announced Monday morning.)
After Get Out, Kaluuya wound up with key roles in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther and Steve McQueen’s Widows. His next major film is the lead in an as-yet-untitled biopic about murdered Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton.