Queen & Slim star Daniel Kaluuya leaned of the role because he met the film’s writer, Lena Waithe, at a screening for his breakout film Get Out.
Kaluuya says in the new MovieMaker Interviews podcast that he was attending a Get Out screening hosted by Chance the Rapper when he saw Waithe. He admired her work because he had read a script for an episode of her Showtime series The Chi, which had not yet aired.
“She mentioned this thing about this Bonnie and Clyde story,” he said. “And then I was like, alright, cool. That sounds wicked.”
The “Bonnie and Clyde” story, of course, was Queen & Slim. Kaluuya explains in the podcast that it evolved into something different than a “Bonnie and Clyde” story.
You can listen on your favorite podcasting platform (see links below) or right here:
Kaluuya met up with Waithe again a few months later, just before Comic Con, where he was promoting what would soon become his next blockbuster after Get Out—Marvel’s Black Panther.
“We sat down and she then she described the first 12 minutes. And I got very excited. And I said, ‘That sounds amazing.’ What I liked about it is it wasn’t just one-sided,” Kaluuya said.
From there, Kaluuya, an Oscar nominee for Best Actor for Get Out, met with Queen & Slim director Melina Matsoukas. And then he tried to “cancel out my British-ness”—in other words, to resist the temptation to play it cool and pretend he didn’t care either way if he got the role of Slim.
That’s all in the first minute of our interview with Kaluuya, who also talks about the Scorsese v. Marvel discussion, conversations with strangers sparked by Get Out, and why his next film will tell the story of real-life Black Panther Fred Hampton.
This episode of MovieMaker interviews also includes a talk with A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood screenwriters Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue, as well as Tom Junod, whose Esquire magazine profile of Mister Rogers (played by Tom Hanks in the film) helped inspire A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
You can find the episode on:
Here are some highlights of the episode, with time stamps:
1:15: Daniel Kaluuya interview begins. Audio is dodgy for a few seconds. It gets better at…
2:14: Audio issue fixed. Enjoy his awesome British accent in all its glory.
3:30: Why he knew he wanted to play Slim.
4:54: Why “Queen & Slim” is more “Thelma & Louise” than “Bonnie & Clyde.”
10:01: Daniel Kaluuya weighs in on the supposed fight between cinema and the Marvel Universe
13:40: He discusses the upcoming film “Jesus Was My Homeboy,” in which he’ll play Black Panther activist Fred Hampton.
16:05: Interview with “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” screenwriters Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue, and Tom Junod, whose Esquire article “Can You Say… Hero?” helped inspire the film.
17:15: Let’s talk about anger.
21:00: How much is Mathew Rhys’ “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” character, Esquire journalist Lloyd Vogel, based on Esquire journalist Tom Junod?
26:20: Would Fred Rogers be disillusioned by the world today?
26:40: About that Navy SEAL/sniper thing
28:50: How Noah discovered Mister Rogers was “a warlock who speaks toddler.”
30: At one point Mister Rogers estate said there will “never ever be a Mister Rogers movie.”
34:10: Where the Mister Rogers sniper urban myth came from.