Samuel L. Jackson is speaking up on the recent trend of Black British actors taking on American roles. When discussing the movie Get Out on the radio station Hot 97, Jackson was critical of British actor, Daniel Kaluuya, for being cast as the lead of a film about American racism. Jackson elaborates:
“There are a lot of black British actors that work in this country. All the time. I tend to wonder what would that movie have been with an American brother who really understands that. Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for a hundred years. Britain, there’s only about eight real white people left in Britain… So what would a brother from America made of that role? I’m sure the director helped. Some things are universal, but everything ain’t.”
Jackson even addressed British actor David Oyelowo being casted as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. He insisted, “some brothers in America could have been in that movie who would have had a different idea about how King thinks or how King felt.”
When asked why he thinks Black British actors are filling American roles, Jackson responded, “They don’t cost as much. Unless you’re an unknown brother that they’re finding somewhere.” He also adds, “They think they’re better trained, for some reason, than we are because they’re classically trained. I don’t know what the love affair is with all that. It’s all good. Everybody needs to work, but there are a lot of brothers here that need to work too. They come here because there are more opportunities, and they actually get paid when they work here, which is fine.”
None of these actors have yet to respond to Jackson’s comments. However, it’s likely that stars like Idris Elba would have many thoughts on the topic of Black casting. He has been vocal about the struggles Black British actors face in their homeland and even gave a speech to British industry executives about the need for more diversity.
You can watch Jackson’s full Hot 97 interview below and decide for yourself if his statements have merit.