Samuel L. Jackson is criticizing films for casting black British actors as African-Americans.
Citing examples like the horror flick Get Out, starring British actor Daniel Kaluuya, and the Martin Luther King Jr. drama Selma, which stars British actor David Oyelowo as the civil rights leader, Jackson told Hot 97 radio hosts on Monday that he wonders why African-Americans weren’t cast for those parts.
“I know the young brother who’s in the movie, and he’s British,” Jackson said. “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 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.”
Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele, is a psychological thriller about an African-American man whose white girlfriend brings him back to her small, predominantly white town to meet her parents for the first time.
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Asked why he feels this is a recurring issue, Jackson answered, “They don’t cost as much. Unless you’re an unknown brother that they’re finding somewhere.”
He added, “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.”
John Boyega, the British star of the new Star Wars films, criticized the debate later on Twitter, writing, “Black brits vs African American. A stupid ass conflict we don’t have time for.”