“Black brits (sic) vs African American. A stupid a** conflict we don’t have time for.” Was John Boyega response via twitter to Samuel L Jackson’s criticism of Hollywood casting black British actors in films about US race relations.
Jackson said on US Radio Station Hot 97 said “I don’t know what the love affair with all that is….We’ve got a lot of brothers here that need to work too.”
Responding to a question about the new comedy horror film Get Out, which stars British actor Daniel Kaluuya. “I think it’s great that movie’s doing everything it’s doing and people are loving it,” Jackson said.
“But… I know the young brother who’s in the movie, and he’s British.
“I tend to wonder what that movie would have been with an American brother who really feels that.”
He suggested that Daniel would not fully understand the difficulties of interracial dating experienced by African-Americans.
“Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for a hundred years,” he added. “What would a brother from America have made of that role? Some things are universal but (not everything is).”
A number of black 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 in Selma and Chiwetel Ejiofor starring as Solomon Northup in 12 Years A Slave.
In an interview with The Guardian, Get Out director Jordan Peele said he “didn’t want to go with a British actor” originally.
“This movie was so much about representation of the African American experience,” he explained.
“Early on, Daniel and I had a Skype session where we talked about this and I was made to understand how universal this issue is.
“Once I’d wrapped my head around how universal these themes were it became easy for me to pick Daniel, because at the end of the day, he was the best person for the role.”
When Hot 97 host Ebro Darden asked Jackson why he thinks black British actors are getting cast as Americans.
“They’re cheaper than us, for a start,” he laughs.
“And [directors] think they’re better than us because they’re classically trained.”