It’s been a trend for quite some time in Hollywood for male leads to be played by Brits (with the occasional Scot, Australian, Kiwi, or South African) sporting a fake American accent.
The greatest example of this came when Henry Cavil stepped in to play Superman, a character who is meant to be the personification of American principles, making that whole “British actors only” policy the Harry Potter films employed seem like a huge double standard in hindsight. It honestly makes you wonder if our current immigration hoopla is targeting the wrong people.
Regardless, this trend has made a powerful enemy: Samuel L. Jackson.
Jackson appeared on a radio interview with WQHT Hot 97 in New York City where he took issue with Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” casting British actor Daniel Kaluuya, to play the African-American lead. Jackson felt it would have been opportune to cast an actor who has experience with American racism.
“There are a lot of black British actors in these movies.” Jackson remarked. “I tend to wonder what that movie [Get Out] would have been with an American brother who really understands 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 everything ain’t.”
Jordan Peele, who wrote and directed the film, originally agreed with Jackson on principle, but said that he ultimately felt that racism was a “universal issue” and that it “became easy for me to pick Daniel, because at the end of the day, he was the best person for the role. He did the audition and it was a slam dunk.”
Jackson was also particularly upset about Martin Luther King Jr. being played by a British actor in the 2014 biopic, “Selma.” As he explained, “A brother from America could have been in that movie that would have had a different idea about how that works, how King thinks or how King felt...I don’t know what the love affair is with all that, it’s all good. Everybody needs to work, but there are a lot of brothers here that need to work.”
Look at it this way; how furious would the Brits be if James Bond were portrayed by an American? It’s almost unfathomable. Food for thought.