Daniel Kaluuya is best known for his performance in the critically-acclaimed thriller, Get Out. The 33-year-old revealed he was ready to throw in the towel before securing his breakout role in the Jordan Peele-directed film. The British-born actor has been acting since 2006 and took a year and a half break after starring in the 2015 film, Sicario.
“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 revealed to Peele in a new conversation for Essence magazine. “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 of 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 all right.'”
Peele first noticed Kaluuya following his appearance on Netflix’s anthology series, Black Mirror. “I was just so thrilled to realize what the rest of the world considers a very small pool. I had at least one of the best actors I’d ever seen in my movie, and from the very beginning I was like, this is how—when you have a script that’s good, and you get an actor like this, who has done work but has untapped potential and an untapped trust put into him—you get something special.”
Further in the conversation, Peele spoke about their dynamic duo and tapping Kaluuya for his upcoming thriller. “We do have a bond. The first big movie he was a lead in and my directorial debut was Get Out, and we bonded because we went through that together. In the beginning of that, it feels like two people who have faith in each other, then by the end, it all works. So I just couldn’t wait to further that relationship and explore a completely new character with Daniel.”
Peele continued raving about Kaluuya’s talent and described him as “my De Niro.” He told the outlet, “It’s so funny, but by the point I was in the middle of shooting Get Out, that’s what I was telling him. I was like [makes serious eye contact], ‘You’re my De Niro, man. You’re my De Niro.’ I was like, ‘I need you to be in the future ones too, man!’ You could just tell what we had in him as a performer, from the very beginning.” Nope — starring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Steve Yeun — hits theaters on Friday, July 22.