Samuel L. Jackson Criticizes the Casting of Black British Actors in American Films

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson has criticized the casting of black British actors in American films during an interview with the New York radio station Hot 97 on Monday.

In the interview, Jackson wonder what it would have been like if a black American man were cast in the lead role of “Get Out,” instead of British actor Daniel Kaluuya. In the film, Kaluuya portrays an African-American man who falls victim to the perils of white liberal racism.

“There are a lot of black British actors in these movies,” Jackson said. “I tend to wonder what that movie [Get Out] would have been with an American brother who really feels that.” He continued, “What would a brother from America have made of that role? Some things are universal, but not everything.”


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Doubling down on his argument, Jackson also mentioned Ava DuVernay’s historical drama film “Selma,” which cast David Oyelowo in the role of Martin Luther King Jr.

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

John Boyega, a black British actor best known for playing Finn in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” took to Twitter to respond to Jackson’s comments. “Black brits vs African American. A stupid a— conflict we don’t have time for,” he wrote.

Listen to the interview with Samuel L. Jackson below:

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  1. Samuel L Jackson is 100 percent correct. Black in Britain were not openly kill in full view of the public, lynch, burned, castrated, downtown in front of the court house with the sheriff, mayor, Preachers, and most of the town viewing the event, like it was carnival act, and no one is jail or prosecuted for this act. There were several massacres of African Americans, (Rosewood Massacre (1923), Tulsa race riot 1921, The Elaine race riot 1919 vicinity of Elaine in rural Phillips County, Arkansas. Etc.), and people of color,(American Indians, Asians), in the United States. I am not aware of any massacres of any people of color occurring in Britain. Blacks in Britain were not exposed to the level of institutionalized racism segregation and separation that African American was exposed to. People who ancestors did not live through that level of HELL ON EARTH, I believe simple cannot reach those emotions to portray on a TV or movie screen. Also African Americans were only portrayed in the background in TV shows and movies, for example; The Andy griffin TV shows had 249 episodes only one did an African American speak lines; (Mayberry Minutia: African-American actor Rockne Tarkington was the only black featured as a main character. He appeared in a March 1967 episode as Flip Conroy, a retired NFL player who was going to coach Opie’s football team. )
    African Americans had to fight to be in place in front of TV and Movies, I am not aware of British Blacks in that fight, and I feel it is unfair for British Blacks to benefit from the African American fight for equality in the entertainment industry, especially since I personally do not see most British Blacks actors acting skills that cannot be meet or exceeded by an African American actor. In closing I believe there is another element at work here at a deeper level. African American movies do not sell well in Europe, could it be that Europeans actually have a problem with people of color who do not view the White race as superior. What I am getting at is that some people of color still today are mentally subordinate to White rule, while African Americans have long lost any of this false illusion. This is reflected into sociality when an employer choses to hire, work with or socialize with a person who holds this subordinate mentality over a person who does not have a subordinate mentality.

  2. Jared says:

    The reason they’re called ACTORS is that they don’t have to have been through a situation in order to be able to portray it. I expected so much more from SLJ.

  3. GangGang says:

    It’s sad how brainwashed blacks are on both sides of the pond

  4. Mercy Seat says:

    Personally I think it is more an indictment of the paucity of good roles for any black British actors (male and female) on British television, film and stage (although the latter is definitely striving to improve representation). From this side of the pond there is an ongoing and justified complaint about the lack of decent parts. Black British sctors are getting great training but then unable to find roles. Hollywood has provided a rich source for them and it is a great talent pool for American casting directors. You have been lucky. It is very much our loss. A growing concern here is significant under representaion for actors of Asian backgrounds. Again, the USA has benefited.

    • M-Wolverine says:

      I don’t know how much the USA has benefited form Asian under representation, because it’s just as bad here. Even in the midst of #OscarsSoWhite it’s still ok in Hollywood for Asian jokes during the telecast. The only thing Hollywood has embraced is #OscarsNotBlackEnough. Because Asian parts are pretty limited. And if anyone really has a complaint of under representation, it’s Hispanic actors. They’re a bigger minority than African-Americans, but there wasn’t a surge of nominees for them (because there wasn’t a surge of great parts for them).

  5. lu says:

    To a black Brit it doesn’t mean the same for a black American actor. The Brits are acting in the role. But for an American it would mean more than a role. If people don’t understand that then they just don’t. I totally get what Samuel was saying.

    The emotion would mean more to an American to play such iconic rolls. Hollywood is casting black Brits in all kinds of iconic black roles. There are plenty of great American actors right here who can play those roles. And those roles should be considered for an American actor first.

    Brits had no problem not having not one American actor in any of the Harry Potter movies. Not one. So get off of Sam’s back.

    • M-Wolverine says:

      I don’t think he or you are wrong. But it’s hardly a Black thing. I mentioned a lot of iconic white roles going to Brits. Wouldn’t someone from middle American get Superman’s “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” better than a Brit, likewise? Or if you want to get away from fantasy roles, maybe America’s greatest real hero, Abraham Lincoln, was played by a Brit. It’s not about Brits stealing American roles, which they have been doing forever, but that there are finally a few decent black roles for them to steal too.

  6. My guess is that Samuel Jackson would have criticized Trump for stopping foreigners from stealing American jobs. Oh, the irony !!

  7. M-Wolverine says:

    Isn’t the real story that there are enough good black roles for Brits to steal? Because it’s been going on with iconic white hero roles for awhile. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man (twice), and less iconic ones like Dr. Strange now, various Fantastic Four members, and X-Men galore. Yet you’re not going to see an American playing James Bond or Doctor Who anytime soon.

    Not that I have a problem with it. It’s called acting. Best actor for the job. It’s just more of an American issue than African-American one.

  8. Jake says:

    Never enough things about which people can complain.

  9. Thank you Mr. Jackson for using your high profile to bring up this point. For years I’ve been lamenting the “Brit” washing of African American roles and for those of other POC and whites, too. And, if you look deeper, it’s POSH Brits at that who’re getting the plum roles. Are the British acting academies just that much better?

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