On a success trail: Daniel Kaluuya
English writer and actor Daniel Kaluuya shot to fame with the Oscar-nominated film ‘Get Out’, which marked ace comedian Jordan Peele’s directorial...
English writer and actor Daniel Kaluuya shot to fame with the Oscar-nominated film ‘Get Out’, which marked ace comedian Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director.
Daniel plays Chris Washington in ‘Get Out’ and his performance in the horror flick garnered rave reviews and he went on to earn nominations in the Best Actor category in several awards including the coveted Academy Award. Kaluuya was recently seen in the superhero film ‘Black Panther’.
Excerpts from the interview:
The film examines race by providing a point of view from both the Caucasian and African-American experience. Why do you think Jordan Peele took that angle on the horror genre?
I think a lot of horror films have baddies, monsters, and ghouls, etc. But in the real world, I am not sure there is anything more horrifying than racism. I think in this day and age, we literally have black kids being killed by police officers, and people shrugging it off. A mother is literally crying on national TV and a newscaster is rating her tears. How believable are her tears? That is racism bro. That is horrifying.
Do you think we need movies or TV to show us what is really going on in society? And do these stories need to be told in an entertaining way, in order to make us at least examine or talk about these things?
I think there should be a space where people can be honest. The goal is for people to be free to say what they want to say, no matter your experience. Everyone having a chance to say what they feel, and be given the tools to be equipped to execute that, is what I think the platform aspires to be. It is relevant and random and arbitrary. So it’s when it’s at its best and it’s most visceral that people start talking and asking, “Did you see this” or “It made me feel like this.” This scene was really well played, but how did it make you feel?
An album will come out and people write reviews about music and albums that they heard last night. You haven’t lived through that, how does it make you feel? You have got to be real and honest about it, and that is what voices like Jordan are doing. And voices like Issa Rae, Donald Glover, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Debbie Tucker Green and all these amazing writers, Lena Waithe and all these amazing people.
One of the most interesting things about this film is your character Chris; for the most part he was so composed. Was that written in the script or was that something that you and Jordan had talked about?
Yeah. Jordan wanted the audience to know that Chris is aware and that composure is a choice as opposed to him being passive. We talked about Chris not being a sap in a sense. He is composed because he loves this girl and he wants it to be alright. This is how much he loves her and is willing to put up with all the comments here and there for the betterment of the relationship. In the long run, he sees a future with her. And so yeah, me and Jordan, we did talk about that.
Also, in reality, everyday racism, not the racism like when people are calling you the N-word, but everyday racism, where people are singling you out because of your black colour, but they are trying to make you feel welcome but are actually making you feel quite isolated. You have to be composed in those situations. It’s not over and you haven’t been taught that is what racism is. You kind of go, well I feel uncomfortable, but have I got the right to say that?
In the film, your character gets stopped by the police who want to see your ID. And you comply right away.
Yeah because if you say something, you get shot. You could die. You know, there are different kinds of consequences, so you engage it in a situation.
Have you ever been hypnotized?
No. And I would not like to get hypnotized in future also.
Jordan says it’s a cultural thing. African-Americans don’t want people messing with their head. Why?
No I am good. I am chilling. I will meditate if you are lucky, but I would rather listen to some music and chill out in that way. I have no interest in meddling in that kind of thing.