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Inside Daniel Kaluuya’s Youth When He Could Afford Only McDonald’s Sauces to Eat

Laura Beatham
Oct 12, 2021
10:00 A.M.

"Get Out" actor Daniel Kaluuya might be thriving in the success of his award-winning roles and the fame that has come with it, but Kalyuua's story started with very humble beginnings.

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Kaluuya was born on February 24, 1989, to Ugandan parents Damalie Namusoke and Stephen Kaluuya. He grew up on a council estate in Camden Town, in London, England, with his mother and sister.

The "Black Panther" actor's career started reasonably early, as he was only nine years old when he wrote his first play that was put on locally at the Hampstead Theatre. However, for a while, he abandoned his talent to pursue sports.

Daniel Kaluuya at the 2018 British Academy Britannia Awards, Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

Daniel Kaluuya at the 2018 British Academy Britannia Awards, Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

However, he returned to the world of acting, as his mother registered him to join Anna Scher and her class at the Islington theatre. Later he found a creative outlet through improvisation classes.

The Guardian noted that the award-winning actor also participated in outreach and theater programs including the Roundhouse outreach programs, Wac in Belsize Park, and the Sylvia Young Saturday school.

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Kaluuya had a strong passion for acting, and he once explained that although he was poor, he knew acting was for him. He told British Blacklist what pushed him to pursue it as a career:

"If I failed, what did I have to lose? I couldn’t have been any poorer – I was eating McDonald’s sauces."

Daniel Kaluuya on the red carpet at 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center, 2018, Hollywood, California.

Daniel Kaluuya on the red carpet at 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center, 2018, Hollywood, California.

Fortunately, Kaluuya stuck with it because nine years after writing his first play, at only 18 years old, Kaluuya got his break being a writer and actor on the E4 Drama, "Skins."

Kaluuya took on the role of Posh Kenneth and was one of the youngest people to ever write for primetime television. The part would be a critical launching pad for the rest of his career.

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After "Skins," Kaluuya took on a few minor roles in TV shows such as "Doctor Who," "Psychoville," "Harry and Paul," "The Fades," and the Netflix series, "Black Mirror," which would help him break into an even larger audience.

Daniel Kayuula and his mother, Damalie Namusoke, pictured at  AFI FEST 2019 Presented By Audi premiere of "Queen & Slim," 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

Daniel Kayuula and his mother, Damalie Namusoke, pictured at AFI FEST 2019 Presented By Audi premiere of "Queen & Slim," 2019. | Photo: Getty Images

After actor Jordan Peele saw Kaluuya's performance in "Black Mirror," he encouraged the British actor to audition for his movie, "Get Out," a comedy-horror about systemic racism.

HIS AWARD-WINNING ROLES

Kaluuya landed the role of photographer Chris Washington. The movie follows his character visiting his white girlfriend's family and discovering the horrific things about her neighborhood and family.

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The role earned Kaluuya well-deserved recognition as he won Best Newcomer at the BAFTA. While accepting the award, he thanked his mother and touched on his humble start:

"I am a product of UK arts funding."

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After his break-out role in "Get Out," Kaluuya went on to appear in many films, such as the very successful Marvel superhero movie, "Black Panther," as well as the films "Queen & Slim" and "Widows."

Kaluuya's most recent role as Chairman Fred Hampton earned him the Best Supporting Actor awards in many prestigious ceremonies, including the Golden Globes, The SAG Awards, Academy Awards, and the Critics Choice Awards.

Kaluuya played the leader of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther party in "Judas and the Black Messiah," which tells the story of black liberation, protest, police brutality, and tension caused by an FBI informant.

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During his Oscar win for the role, Kaluuya was allegedly mistaken for Leslie Odom Jr. at a post-win press conference by Hollywood Foreign Press Association journalist Margaret Gardiner.

Gardiner asked Kaluuya what it was like to be directed by Regina King, who led Odom in "One Night in Miami." Kaluuya asked the journalist to repeat herself, although it is unclear if he did because of an audio issue or was confused by the question.

Gardiner then repeated the question but rephrased her question in a way that covered her apparent mistake. Later she posted an apology on Twitter but did not admit she mistook Kayuula for Odom. Instead, she reasoned her wording was wrong.

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WHAT'S NEXT?

Besides being an award-winning actor, Kaluuya is also a businessman. He launched his production company, 59%, and announced its first deal with paramount players in May 2019.

Kaluuya said in a statement about the company that "59% will be the home to continue that in a producorial capacity, to bridge the gap between the next wave of storytellers and studios."

The 36-year-old has been acting for 20 years and revealed that he does not see himself acting for much longer. He explained he could see directing being a possible career move, as he wants to keep challenging himself as a creative.

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Although the accomplished actor might be thinking about moving on, other outlets have speculated that he might take over the role of James Bond as Daniel Craig starred in his last film for the franchise this year.

US Weekly placed their speculations on a few actors who have been rumored to take on the iconic Agent 007 role. Besides Kaluuya, the outlet named "Bridgeton" Rege-Jean Page, Tom Hardy, and Idris Ebla, to name a few.

LOVE LIFE

Kaluuya has been private about his life love and refrained from sharing insight into his personal life during various interviews and speeches; however, outlets have reported that he is in a long-term relationship.

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According to The Guardian, the British actor is dating Amandla Crichlow, whose father is the late activist Frank Crichlow. The pair have a working relationship too.

The Guardian reported that they are partners in Kayuula's production company and have plans to work on a living action movie about "Barney the Dinosaur" with Mattel.

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Although neither Crichlow nor Kaluuya have confirmed the rumors, she did attend several award ceremonies and the premiere of "Black Panther" by his side.

Her acting credits include "The Bill," in 2007- 2008, "Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act" in 2006, and her most recent credit was in 2012, in "Anonymous." She is expected to appear in "Curfew," which was still in production as of February 2021.

With Kaluuya's ever-growing fanbase, there is no doubt that whether he continues building his career as an actor or focuses on more behind-the-scenes aspects of the film industry, he will always be supported.

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