Co-starring in what looks to be one of the biggest hits of the fall, Daniel Kaluuya took to time to talk with The Knockturnal about ‘Sicario,’ in theaters worldwide October 2, 2015.
Q: First of all, congratulations on Sicario, since it looks like it’s going to be one of the best films of the year.
Daniel Kaluuya: It does, listen I love it. I think it’s an amazing film. I haven’t seen every film this year to say it’s the best, but I think it’s the best. So I’m just putting that out there.
Q: Can you talk about what it was like working with the director, Denis Villeneuve?
Kaluuya: Denis, it was cool that…he’s just lovely. He’s just real welcoming to your ideas and collaboration and making me feel at ease. He really pushed for me to get the role in this so I’m really appreciative that he got me the part in this thing that I’m so proud of. He’s amazing, he’s an amazing man.
Q: He’s looked like he’s one of the best filmmakers coming out now, ever since Prisoners. He’s just really making things I’ve never seen before and it’s amazing.
Kaluuya: It’s exciting to see someone grow and forge out their career in this industry and people are really excited for him and about him so it’s good.
Q: What exactly drew you to the project? Was it the idea of working with Denis? The screenplay? Or was there anything else in particular?
Kaluuya: It was combination of a certain many things. It was a great, great script, it was a great part, it was a great director, it was a great cast, it was going to Albuquerque and just chill out for three months, it was quite a bit of fun. There were so many factors. It was everything about it, it was really…it made me want to wake up early, it made me want to wake up at 4 A.M. and make me want to go to bed at 6 A.M. after night shoots.
Q: About your character in the movie, how would you go about describing him?
Kaluuya: He’s just a solid guy. And he’s the only guy in the film that actually has Emily Blunt’s characters back. He’s got to try and defend her and look out for her when she’s in a bit deeper than she realizes. She doesn’t understand the level where these people are at and the strategy they use so he’s got her back, he’s just got her back man. He’s just a great support system.
Q: Emily Blunt looks like she’s getting bigger and bigger with each role and it just looks like this will really put her on the map as far as being one of the biggest actresses in the world. Can you talk about what it’s like working with her?
Kaluuya: I think she’s one of the biggest actresses in the world right now, personally. I think she’s definitely one of the most talented, and one of smartest, most intelligent…she’s amazing, absolutely amazing. It’s really cool to be with her and grow with Emily for that whole Summer last year, that two months and a half. To see what makes her tick and why she is one of the best in the world. And then I’m really excited for what this is going to do for her. She’s an amazing talent but this really showcases it in a genre that people probably haven’t seen her will get to know her.
Q: She’s just someone who when she’s in a movie, I know for sure it’s something that I know I’ve got to see.
Kaluuya: She’s a great talent.
Q: She’s incredible! In Sicario, what was your favorite scene to shoot in particular?
Kaluuya: Favorite scene to shoot…I mean the opening sequence was pretty fun when we just blew up the house a lot of times and the explosions were pretty cool. That’s really fun. That’s the stuff that you go, “Wow, I’m in the movies.” That was cool. I loved the scenes between me and Emily, there was the one scene where we just improvised after the bar and it just got under the skin of her, under the skin of Reggie, under the skin of the relationship, just you know, it was really cool.
Q: For the people who may not know about this movie living under a rock somewhere, what should people expect from this movie?
Kaluuya: It’s a film that’ll make you think, that’ll make you feel, I think a lot of films choose one or the other and I think this is both, it’s a real…it was a really interest comment on Mexican cartels and that fight and how people fight these illegal gangs in a somewhat illegal way and the morality of the fact but also, cinematically, it’s an impressive piece of work. I mean it will make you jump, be at the edge of your seat, hold your breath, go crazy. And that’s really exciting cause it feels like it’s really accessible to people. So if you’re a cinephile, you’re thinking, “Oh man, this is a really interesting piece of work,” and then if you’re just…the general public where you wanna have a good night or you wanna impress a girl or a guy, you’re on a date, this is a really cool thing to be a part of. I love being a part of a project like that.
Q: Looking at your career so far, you haven’t just been in movies but you’ve also done a lot of television work. Does your approach differ from working on one medium to the other? Do you take acting in a film different than acting in a television show?
Kaluuya: I think yeah, it’s the medium so there’s more of a difference. Just inherently, in the fact that cinema the person goes out to watch the film when on TV it’s transmitted to your TV, there’s a difference. You know what I mean? It’s a different medium completely, the scripts and the work are different in the sense that it demands different attributes from yourself, so yeah. I think TV is a bit more worthy and where cinema is about the camera, and you’re giving less, you know. I love both of them, they keep people connected. They both have strengths in those departments.
Q: Do you have any particular role that you’ve played before that’s a favorite for you?
Kaluuya: Any particular role that’s a favorite of what I’ve played…I did this episode of Black Mirror that was amazing. That was a really, really cool project. I did a show back home for The Royal Court where I lost three stone in three months, that was really cool. I just boxed for eight months. I just learned how to fight and that was amazing. And then being a part of Skins was amazing, was at school and having that experience while I was at school. And then Welcome To The Punch, was loads of fun, loads of cool stuff. I feel very proud and very fortunate to be alive.
Q: You mention Black Mirror, that’s one of those shows that just looks incredible. Can you talk about the experience of working on that show?
Kaluuya: It was amazing. I did that about four years ago. It was these collections of amazing scripts. I got the script and just said, “This is incredible.” I got the role in it and then just…they literally created a world…created a world. It just said, “What if?” The writer is a massive journalist back home in England and he really got out a lot of what he wanted to say about the world through the episode you know, about consumerism and capitalism and people are collecting this technology and what technology is doing to human interaction. So I like to be in the center of that and have people who feel like they feel the same way…it’s amazing. I just knew from the script that this is just stuff he wanted to say and stuff he felt and he just said it.
Q: It’s absolutely one of the shows I’ve been wanting to check out for a while now.
Kaluuya: You should watch it, after this you should go and watch it. If you haven’t watched it by the end of the week I will be very unhappy. I probably won’t know but somewhere I’ll be frowning.
Q: That just means I have to watch it now.
Kaluuya: Listen, it’s amazing. Do you know what the first episode is about? Have you heard about it?
Q: I’m going in completely blind on it.
Kaluuya: You should watch it blank. It’s wild. It’s wild.
Q: I’m excited for it and I’m gonna be watching it this week. Just to wrap this up. So, what film or television series from the past that you may have enjoyed watching that you may have wished that you could really be in…which film or TV series would you have loved to have been in?
Kaluuya: Loved to have been in…Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I could just watch that again and again. That looked like so much fun to film. They really made it a great snapshot of the time. It really captured the time and you go back and it’s aged so well. It’s just fun. That kind of stuff definitely…I love that. As for TV stuff, Breaking Bad’s quite cool. Love Breaking Bad. That’s about it. There’s loads of stuff that I can’t quite think of.