British actor Daniel Kaluuya has responded to Samuel L. Jackson’s suggestion that an African-American would have been better suited to his role in Get Out.
Samuel hit headlines earlier this month (Mar17) when he said in an interview that, as a Brit, Daniel would not fully understand the difficulties of interracial dating experienced by African-Americans, a topic that is explored in Jordan Peele’s horror comedy.
He was slammed by many, including Star Wars actor John Boyega, for the remark, but now Daniel has spoken about the controversy, insisting: “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion”.
Speaking to the BBC, Daniel said he remains proud to have landed the first lead role of his career, adding: “You do stuff, people make decisions and it goes out there and people have opinions. And everyone’s entitled to their opinion.
“I love all my black brothers and sisters worldwide, and that’s my position. All I know is this my first ever lead role in a film and I’ve lost out on a lot of roles because I’m black. It’s my one shot. I’m going to come through it and do my thing and go home.”
Daniel added that he considers Samuel a “legend on and off screen”.
After the uproar caused by his comments, Samuel attempted to clarify his meaning during a chat with the Associated Press.
“It was not a slam against them, but it was just a comment about how Hollywood works in an interesting sort of way sometimes,” he mused.
Samuel was complimentary of the amount of work black British actors put in in order to take on American roles, but claimed that it didn’t work the other way around – with Americans taking on British parts.
“We’re not afforded that same luxury, but that’s fine, we have plenty of opportunities to work,” he added. “(But) I enjoy their (black British actors’) work. I enjoy working with them when I have the opportunity to do that.”
A number of British stars have been cast as African-American characters in Hollywood in recent years, with notable examples including David Oyelowo playing civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and Chiwetel Ejiofor starring as Solomon Northup in 12 Years A Slave.