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Whew, is Daniel Kaluuya on fire. The 31-year-old actor is still best known for his breakout role in Get Out… well because Jordan Peele’s genre-bending horror isn’t leaving our brains anytime soon. Kaluuya has had a whirlwind few years since the Blumhouse-produced phenomenon scored him a Best Actor nomination. He was part of the box-office shattering MCU film Black Panther, Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario and Steve McQueen’s Widows. His last role was the incredibly relevant and passionate drama, Queen & Slim and next he’ll be playing activist and Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton in the upcoming Shaka King film.
See what I mean? On fire. But Daniel Kaluuya isn’t an overnight sensation. He’s worked hard in the industry a decade before Get Out’s release and the man behind his distinct career choices is fascinating. It’s time to get to know one of the brightest talents in Hollywood, but first check out Jim Carrey serenading him in tribute:
Thank you Jim for the Daniel Kaluuya theme song! Now to the interesting facts:
Daniel Kaluuya Wrote And Starred In The Original Skins Series At 18
The original British version of Skins proved to be a vehicle for a number of future stars including X-Men actor Nicholas Hoult, The Maze Runner’s Kaya Scodelario and Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel. The teen drama series was also a key moment for Daniel Kaluuya who not only played the role of Posh Kenneth in eleven episodes, but he also had the chance to be a contributing writer on the first two seasons of the show and was head writer on two episodes “Jal” and “Thomas”. Kaluuya established his love for writing back when he wrote his own play at nine years old.
Daniel Kaluuya Was Part Of A Viral Rap Video In 2009
Daniel Kaluuya has no shortage of talents. The actor can spit some serious bars as proved by this 2009 music video and “comedy anthem” called “Too Many Weave.” Check it out below:
During his Skins days, the actor collaborated with British comedian Jason Lewis for the viral video. The pair wrote the song together, which is a hilarious commentary on women wearing hair extensions more and more. The video became the most viewed YouTube video for three days in a row back in summer 2009.
Daniel Kaluuya Scored Get Out Thanks To Black Mirror Hitting Netflix
Before Black Mirror became a cultural sci-fi staple, Daniel Kaluuya got a part in the second episode of Season 1 titled “Fifteen Million Merits” in 2011. When the actor first starred in the show, the job came and went because it had not yet gained the prominence the show has today. But in 2015, the show arrived to Netflix and became a topic of discussion in America. Jordan Peele became a quick fan of the show and Kaluuya’s after watching the first season, per The Tonight Show. Thanks to Netflix’s purchase of the show, Kaluuya scored the Get Out audition – and nailed the crying scene on cue.
He Was Criticized By Samuel L. Jackson For Starring In Get Out As A Brit
Get Out received a ton of love when it came out, going on to become 2017’s Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars, making a huge impression on the audience and starting a wave of “woke horror” across the genre. When it was first getting attention, Samuel L. Jackson made a comment on HOT 97 about Daniel Kaluuya’s casting. Check it out:
I tend to wonder what would that movie have been with an American brother who really understands that, because Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for 100 years. In Britain, there are only eight real white people left and the rest of ‘em are mixed. So, what would a brother from America have made of that role? And I’m sure the director helped… some things are universal, but everything ain’t.
Samuel L. Jackson had not seen the movie at the point he made these comments, but it does bring about a specific struggle Black British actors such as Daniel Kaluuya face in Hollywood. To GQ, the Get Out star responded with these words in part:
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. You probably feel that as a writer, too. Just because you're black, you get taken and used to represent something. It mirrors what happens in the film. I resent that I have to prove that I'm black. I don't know what that is. I'm still processing it.
Considering Get Out is viewed as one of the most engaging and groundbreaking horrors of the modern era, it's probably safe to say that Samuel L. Jackson's concerns were destined for the Sunken Place.
A Deleted Scene Revealed His Black Panther Character Was Written As Okoye's Husband
Daniel Kaluuya’s finding a role in Black Panther is a huge achievement for the actor, especially since it came out just as Get Out was receiving Oscar buzz. Kaluuya’s role as W’Kabi of the Border Tribe and close friend to T’Challa was a small one, but as a deleted scene for the movie has shown, his role is much more connected to Okoye than we thought. They were supposed to be known as husband and wife. Check it out here:
Writer/director Ryan Coogler was sad to see it go, especially since Kaluuya and Danai Gurira have more time to shine and show off their acting chops. Hopefully we’ll see more of their relationship in Black Panther 2 coming in May 2022.
Yes, Daniel Kaluuya Is Producing A Live-Action Barney Movie
Just to keep us guessing(?) it was also announced that Daniel Kaluuya has boarded Mattel’s live-action Barney movie in late 2019. As The Guardian reported, the project will take a ”completely new approach” to the character and will “surprise audiences and subvert expectations.” This new take on Barney will be family friendly. Here’s how Kaluuya described the project:
Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood. We’re excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of ‘I love you, you love me’ can stand the test of time.
This is an incredibly random movie for Daniel Kaluuya to take on and we’ll have to see if he also finds a role in the film. Either way we’re listening, the guys got taste after all.
Daniel Kaluuya Thinks Getting Into Directing Is "Where He’s Headed"
Okay, so the Get Out star can act, he can write and he’ll produce. Directing sounds like the natural next step for him, don’t you think? When CinemaBlend spoke to Daniel Kaluuya for an episode of the ReelBlend podcast, he was asked about his interest in becoming a director and he said he thinks that is where he’s headed “most likely.” He said he wants to make sure if and when he does it for the right reasons, but he’s been told he could have a knack for it before. In his words:
Everyone’s been saying I’m a director since I was young because in order to write I have to see it. That’s probably why it takes me so long to write… but I just haven’t got around to it. There’s just so much to do.
Daniel Kaluuya is a seriously talented and impressive emerging talent to keep watching. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more news on Hollywood actors and vote for your favorite Kaluuya performance in the poll below!