Daniel Kaluuya is getting candid about his difficulties in the film industry.
In a conversation with “Nope” director Jordan Peele for Essence, the actor reveals that before landing the lead role in “Get Out”, he was on the verge of quitting acting altogether.
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“I’ve never told you this, but when you reached out to me and we had that Skype, I was really disillusioned with acting,” Kaluuya admitted to Peele. “I had stopped acting for like a year and a half. I checked out, because I was just like, this isn’t working. I wasn’t getting roles, because racism and all this kind of stuff — so you reaching out was like, ‘OK, I’m not crazy. It’s proper. It’s going to be alright.'”
“It seems like after that project, you came with a real intention about how you wanted to shape your career,” Peele said.
Daniel responded, “I did. I was just like, If it’s not a ‘f**k yeah,’ it’s a no. That kind of cleaned house. A ‘ F**k yeah’ to me is when you’re doing plays, you’re doing it for 400 pound a week. That’s pre-agent, pre-tax, pre-everything. So I was like, ‘Would I do this for 400 pound a week?’ And if the answer was yes, then all right, cool, I’ll do it.”
After starring in “Get Out”, Kaluuya’s career began to take off, landing roles in films like “Widows” and “Queen & Slim”, and getting an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work in “Judas and the Black Messiah”.
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The actor says that now, with more roles to choose from, he’s on the lookout for deeper characters to get him excited.
“I want to go into places that I don’t know I can. I want three-dimensional characters. I want to tell the story, no matter how big or how small,” Kaluuya says. “In ‘Widows,’ I’m not in the film that much, but my character had an arc—he had a story and an evolution. As long as that’s there, then I can engage with it.”