Jordan Peele's "Get Out" is a surprise runaway hit, but one of its stars has become an issue for legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Speaking to hip-hop radio station Hot 97 in New York, Jackson questioned the casting of black British actor Daniel Kaluuya in the role of Chris, the male lead opposite white actress Allison Williams.
"There are a lot of black British actors that work in this country," he said last week. "I tend to wonder what would that movie have been with an American who really understands that in a way ... Because Daniel grew up in a country where, you know, they've been interracially dating for a hundred years," he said.
Kaluuya, who was born in London to Ugandan parents, responded to Jackson's comments in an interview with GQ, praising the veteran actor for breaking "down doors" but explaining the racism he still faces daily.
"When I'm around black people, I'm made to feel 'other' because I'm dark-skinned," Kaluuya, 27, told the magazine. "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 continued by citing racial discrimination and incidents in London, where "black people were being killed by police."
"Let me say, I'm not trying to culture-vulture the thing. I empathize," he said. "That script spoke to me. I've been to Ugandan weddings and funerals and seen that cousin bring a white girl. That's a thing in all communities. I really respect African-American people. I just want to tell black stories."
But Kaluuya said he still resents that he has to "prove that I'm black."
"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," he said. "No matter that every single room I go to, I'm usually the darkest person there ... I kind of resent that mentality. I'm just an individual."
Before Jackson's comments were brought up in the interview, Kaluuya opened up about dealing with race, dating back to before he was a teenager.
"We live this. If you live in the Western world, it's not hard," he said. "I go into a ... shop, and I'm followed by a security guard. Since I was 12. I don't have to look for it. It finds me."