Samuel L. Jackson's Big Issue With Some Black British Actors Playing American Roles

Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight and Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

One of the biggest issues surrounding the world of Hollywood and entertainment is visibility. With the #OscarsSoWhite movement highlighting the lack of inclusion for people of color in Oscar nominated movies, we began to see more people of note addressing the discrepancy of roles for non-white actors. Particularly whitewashing, where roles intended for people of color are rewritten or given to caucasian actors in an attempt to reach a wider audience. And while it seems like movies and TV have been making positive steps, inclusion is still a hot topic issue. And it turns out that for Samuel L. Jackson, the issue also extends to British black actors being cast in roles written about the African-American experience.

Samuel L. Jackson recently appeared on Hot 97 FM in order to promote his role in Kong: Skull Island. Eventually Jordan Peele's acclaimed new horror movie Get Out came up, and he revealed that he's not too happy with Daniel Kaluuya getting the role of Chris. As Kaluuya is British, Jackson believes that he couldn't really understand his character's history, and that it should have been given to an African-American.

There are a lot of black British actors in these movies. I tend to wonder what that movie [Get Out] would have been with an American brother who really feels that. Daniel grew up in a country where they've been interracial dating for a hundred years. What would a brother from America have made of that role? Some things are universal, but...

How do you really feel, Sam? Samuel L. Jackson's opinion is certainly a controversial one, especially for black actors who have managed to book exciting and important films in Hollywood.

And Get Out wasn't the only film that Samuel L. Jackson took issue with. For similar reasons, he cited Selma with problematic casting. The film saw British Nigerian actor David Oyelowo being cast as Martin Luther King Jr., which Jackson felt similarly conflicted about.

There are some brothers in America who could have been in that movie who would have had a different idea about how King thinks.

Samuel L. Jackson's comments are sure to elicit very emotional responses from both sides of the debate. On one hand, Jackson's sentiments echo the idea of proper inclusion. Many felt that Tilda Swinton's Doctor Strange role should have been awarded to an Asian man (as in the comics), since there are so little roles for Asian actors to begin with. Similarly, Jackson believes that a character that centers around the black experience in America should have been given to a black American actor.

Conversely, there are others who standby the belief that any movie about black people is a victory for all black people. Get Out told a very specific story about life and race in 2017, so shouldn't the best actor get the job, regardless of his country of origin?

In fact, Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega took a bold stance against Jackson's comments. You can see his response on the next page.

Star Wars actor John Boyega tweeted out a response to Samuel L. Jackson's comments as soon as they went viral. While not mentioning the legendary actor by name, Boyega's tweet sure seems obvious.

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Looks like we have a bonafide feud on our hand. John Boyega clearly believes that black actors in Hollywood are all on the same team, regardless of which country they were born in. With a majority of films still largely focused on white men, it seems that infighting would be counterproductive to the larger conflict.

What do you think? Does Samuel L. Jackson have a point, or do you agree more with John Boyega? Sound off in the comments below.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.