Samuel L jackson has defended his criticism of black British actors playing American roles, blaming it on the “system”.
The 68-year-old actor said he was not trying to “slam” British actors when he criticised decisions to cast them in American roles.
“It was not a slam against them. It was just a comment about how Hollywood works in an interesting sort of way sometimes,” he said.
Jackson sparked an online debate after criticising director Jordan Peele, who cast British actor Daniel Kaluuya to play an African-American photographer who is terrorised by his white girlfriend’s parents in Get Out.
“I tend to wonder what that movie would have been with an American brother who really feels that,” Jackson told a New York radio station.
“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?”
Jackson also pointed to Ava DuVernay’s Selma, which stars British actor David Oyelowo as American civil rights icon Martin Luther King.
“There are some brothers in America who could have been in that movie who would have had a different idea about how King thinks,” he said.
Asked why he thought studios preferred British actors, the Pulp Fiction star said it was “because they’re cheaper than us”.
He said: “They don’t cost as much. And they think they’re better trained, because they’re classically trained.”
His comments drew criticism from British actor John Boyega, who tweeted a response to Jackson, calling the discussion “a stupid ass conflict we don’t have time for”.
This year saw three African-American films nominated for Oscars, including two nominations for Britain’s Naomie Harris, for Moonlight, and Ireland’s Ruth Negga, for Loving.
In past years, black British actors have been increasingly recognised in Hollywood, with Chiwetel Ejiofor winning an Oscar for Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave and Thandie Newton nominated for a SAG award for Westworld.
On Wednesday, Jackson explained his comments and was complimentary of black British performers, but said it was a one-way street.
“I enjoy working with them when I have the opportunity to do that,” he said. “We’re not afforded that same luxury, but that’s fine, we have plenty of opportunities to work.”