If you pay attention to movie news, you may have heard of a little film called Get Out. You'll recognize star Allison Williams from her long-running turn on Girls, but you may not be as familiar with the project's other driving force. So, who is Daniel Kaluuya?
In Get Out, he leads as Chris Washington, a black man traveling to the affluent, suburban hometown of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Williams). Once there, Chris begins to grow suspicious of Rose's over-exuberant parents, and, soon enough, his fears are justified. Without giving anything away, the widely acclaimed horror comedy smartly doubles as a thought-provoking piece of social commentary, fast catapulting it from Sundance darling to powerful conversation-starter.
It's largely considered Kaluuya's breakout role, but chances are you've seen him before — especially if you're a fan of British television. According to IMDb, the North London native has been acting for over a decade, nabbing his first credited part in 2006 film Shoot the Messenger. He comes from a background of writing and improv: He wrote his first play at just 9 years old, and told Interview that he's currently working on a film script about class and racial conflict in the British capital.
As a teen, he shirked university for a writing gig on Skins, in which he also appeared in a recurring part as Posh Kenneth. According to Interview, he remains close with the cast to this day. "Skins was like our uni," he told the outlet. "I'm tight with everyone from Skins because we had that special experience together. We always meet up, always go to dinner, always have Christmas dinner. Everyone's started having kids now and getting married, so we're all part of it."
After that, he landed a starring role in the Olivier Award-nominated play Sucker Punch and stints in BBC series like Bellamy's People, Psychoville, and The Fades, before giving a noteworthy performance as Bing in Black Mirror episode "Fifteen Million Merits."
Though Get Out is Kaluuya's first leading turn in an American feature, he's appeared in a number of other big-screen efforts, including 2013 thriller Welcome to the Punch, comedy Kick-Ass 2, and 2015 crime drama Sicario.
Outside of his career, Kaluuya keeps a rather low profile (Don't bother searching for him on social media, you won't find him). But, in interviews, he's been open about why Get Out struck such a personal note. In response to a controversial comment from Samuel L. Jackson that made headlines in March, he told GQ:
"When I'm around black people I'm made to feel 'other' because I'm dark-skinned. I've had to wrestle with that, with people going 'You're too black.' Then I come to America and they say, 'You're not black enough.' I go to Uganda, I can't speak the language. In India, I'm black. In the black community, I'm dark-skinned. In America, I'm British."
Kaluuya hasn't done much press outside of Get Out, and, understandably, those discussions have been focused on the movie's adept, brilliant depiction of modern day race relations. But he sounds like a grounded, ambitious, and gracious actor, and you'll probably be seeing a lot more of him in the future. He's already attached to much-anticipated superhero flick Black Panther and Steve McQueen heist movie Widows, alongside Elizabeth Debicki, Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, and others.
As his star continues to rise, watch him vie for some of the night's top honors when the MTV Movie & TV Awards airs Sunday, May 7 at 8 p.m. ET.