Daniel Kaluuya has found great success working as an actor in the United States, with credits in highly lauded films including 2017’s Get Out and 2018’s Black Panther. But, according to Kaluuya, what led him to find work across the pond is an issue with racism in his native England.
“I was going for a lot of stuff [in England],” he told The Sunday Times in a new interview. “But I wasn’t getting roles because of the color of my skin. It wasn’t fair. It was a trap.”
“For 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.”
He added, “In any other profession, that would be weird, but it was accepted in mine. It happened a few times, and I went, ‘Nah. I’m not an idiot.’”
Kaluuya’s commentary on the racism he feels he endured in his home country comes at a time that its version of the Academy Awards known as the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) have fallen under heavy scrutiny for nominating only white actors in their latest round of honors. In 2018, Kaluuya was recognized with BAFTA’s Rising Star Award. That same year, a report found that 94% of all BAFTA nominees were white.
Speaking to EW in 2018, the 30-year-old opened up about racism while discussing Get Out‘s big party scene that saw his character hobnobbing with older, rich white people.
“That party scene was just like, ‘Oh, I’ve been in that party. I’m going to that party,’” Kaluuya said as part of EW’s SAG Awards Spotlight. “Like, that kind of racism that isn’t seen as racism, that isn’t seen as, kind of like, mainstream racism. It’s just life. And to explore that is quite an uncomfortable conversation. And [director] Jordan [Peele] just spoke his truth. He cinematically articulated an experience that millions of people go through and they are made to feel crazy for going through that. But he just said, ‘No, actually, you’re not crazy.’”