Get Out has been a monster hit for director Jordan Peele. The movie cost less than $5 million to make and has surged past the $100 million mark at the box office.
Yet not everyone is thrilled. Most notably, Samuel L. Jackson has come out as a staunch critic of the decision to cast Brit Daniel Kaluuya over an African-American actor in the starring role.
In an interview with GQ, Kaluuya, who was born in London to Ugandan parents, claims the backlash is bunk. He says: “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!”
He adds that – unlike what critics like Jackson claim – black people in Britain have undergone hardships as well. “I really respect African-American people. I just want to tell black stories. 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.”
Jackson voiced his displeasure about the casting move while promoting Kong: Skull Island in a recent interview : “I tend to wonder what would that movie have been with an American brother who really understands that in a way. Because 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.”