Daniel Kaluuya, best-known for his role in Oscar-winning movies, Get Out and Black Panther, chats about his latest movie Queen & Slim.
Why did you decide to be part of Queen & Slim? Because it has something to say. I felt that it was different, and would be polarising and provocative. I had a gut feeling that I needed to be part of it.
How was working with Jodie Turner-Smith? She’s so amazing, open and generous. Some scenes were difficult, especially in terms of time. For instance, we’d shoot all day from 6am on Saturday, and then return to set on Monday at 4am. Those Mondays were really tough. But Jodie was so prepared, committed, hungry and optimistic. She brought good energy, and she’s a star!
How did you tap into Slim? I tried to be where he was. So, I pulled up to Cleveland on Sunday in an Uber, and spent a couple of hours in the neighbourhood. I was just feeling the energy and talking to people. I walked around and didn’t go with an agenda; I didn’t know what I was looking for, but knew I had to be there. What I found were his entitlement and attitude.
What are you hoping the film achieves? I hope it lives for years! I hope that future filmmakers fall in love with it and the movie gets seen for the artwork that it is. I see it as a visual poem and fable. But, I hope it doesn’t resonate with people in the future, because they would have changed.
How do you choose the roles you play, and break the mould of being typecast? I started acting in improvisation, and I’d change character and do something different. I try to apply that in my career as well. It doesn’t make sense to show up as someone I was before. I’m about growing and challenging myself. I don’t believe in typecasting, and don’t gauge myself by someone else’s perspective of me.
How important is representation in the projects you choose? I just want to tell the truth – some call it diversity, but I just call it the truth. I want to see the world I live in. I see an array of perspectives that I don’t usually see in the cinema. I need to be the champion of where I’m from, and use whatever resources and platforms I have, otherwise, what am I here for?
Imagine you’re on your first date with someone and it takes a wild turn? That’s exactly what happens to these two young black Cleveland natives, which is how Queen & Slim unfolds. It is a drama, yet conscious, romantic film by Lena Waithe, directed by Melina Matsoukas and starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith.
Check out the trailer below: