Biography of Daniel Kaluuya 2024

Daniel Kaluuya was born on February 24, 1989 in London, England to Ugandan immigrant parents. His mother raised him and his sister on a council estate after his father left when Kaluuya was young.

Kaluuya attended St Aloysius College, a Catholic secondary school in London, where he began acting in school plays. He then enrolled in a youth theater group called Anna Scher Theatre to further hone his acting skills.

Early Acting Experiences

Even before finishing school, Kaluuya was already landing roles. His first acting credit came at age 9 in a BBC radio play called “Streets of Gold.” He later appeared as an extra in episodes of beloved British TV shows like “Silent Witness” and “Spooks.”

At age 18, Kaluuya starred in his first feature film, “Shoot the Messenger”. Though the political thriller went straight to DVD, it marked the launch of his professional on-screen career.

Breakthrough Role in “Skins”

In his late teens, Kaluuya rose to fame playing the lead role of Posh Kenneth in the first two seasons of the controversial British teen drama “Skins.” The show, which aired from 2007–2013, followed a group of teenagers through their high school years.

“Skins” set itself apart by tackle taboo storylines like drug use, casual sex, and mental illness. It became Channel 4’s highest-rated drama series at the time.

Years aired 2007–2013
Number of seasons 6
Number of episodes 61

Kaluuya’s Breakout Role

As the ultra-confident leader of the group of friends at the center of “Skins,” Kaluuya’s Kenneth character was hugely popular for his charm, style, and humor.

The show became a true pop culture phenomenon, turning its young cast into stars over night. Kaluuya especially stood out for his magnetic performance and gained a dedicated fan following.

Transition into Film

When Kaluuya left “Skins” in 2009 after two seasons, he began transitioning into acting in movies. His first major film role came in 2010’s “Chatroom,” a thriller centered around strangers interacting through an online chat room.

That same year he played supporting roles in gritty dramas like “Shank” and “Johnny English Reborn.” And in 2011, Kaluuya’s growing momentum earned him a nomination for the “Orange Rising Star Award”—the British Academy Film Awards’ prize for emerging talent.

Breakthrough in “Sicario” and “Black Mirror”

Though Kaluuya was working consistently in movies, his breakout film role came in 2015 when he played an FBI agent alongside Emily Blunt in Denis Villeneuve’s hailed crime thriller “Sicario.”

That same year, he also delivered a chilling performance in an episode of the anthology series “Black Mirror,” firmly establishing himself as a star on the rise in Hollywood.

Global Fame in “Get Out”

In 2017, Kaluuya cemented his status as a true star with his lead role in Jordan Peele’s smash hit horror movie “Get Out.” Made for just $4.5 million, the fiercely original thriller went on to gross $255 million at the box office.

“Get Out” follows a young black man named Chris (Kaluuya) who uncovers a twisted conspiracy when he meets his white girlfriend’s family. Peele’s nuanced exploration of race in America thrilled critics and audiences alike.

Production budget $4.5 million
Worldwide gross revenue $255 million
Rotten Tomatoes score 98%

Kaluuya’s Star-Making Performance

As the film’s hero and emotional anchor, Kaluuya drew widespread praise for his subtly fierce performance. His ability to convey simmering terror through slow burns electrified the film’s underlying tension.

Critics hailed him as a revelation and Kaluuya won a stack of “Best Actor” awards, including the Gotham Independent Film Award and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Almost overnight, Kaluuya had become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents.

Continued Success in Movies

With his career officially launched into the stratosphere, Kaluuya has shrewdly leveraged his heat into prominent roles in major studio projects.

In 2018, he played W’Kabi in the acclaimed blockbuster “Black Panther.” His turn as the head of the king’s security earned “Black Panther” $1.3 billion globally.

Kaluuya again drew raves later that year for his charming, dramatic work alongside Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan in the wrongful conviction drama “Fruitvale Station.” And in 2019, he reunited with Jordan Peele to star in the elevated horror film “Us,” which grossed $250 million worldwide.

As his fame has grown, Kaluuya has become selective with his roles—consistently opting for compelling characters in acclaimed films rather than big paychecks in generic blockbusters. This artistic integrity has further bolstered both his reputation and continued success.

Upcoming Projects

Moving forward, Kaluuya remains highly in-demand. He’s attached to star as real-life Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

Kaluuya will also headline a film based on his own original idea in which he plays a man living an everyday life while the world expects him to be the second coming of Christ.

Between these films and any surprise future projects, Kaluuya’s unique talent and sky-high cultural currency show no signs of diminishing any time soon.

Kaluuya’s Acting Style and Skills

Though adept in many genres, Kaluuya has emerged as a modern master of nuanced, psychologically-rich acting specifically in dark dramas and genre films.

Whether conveying simmering intensity like in “Get Out” and “Black Panther” or communicating raw emotion as in “Fruitvale Station,” Kaluuya brings an electrifying presence and depth to his roles.

Comedic Chops

In addition to dramatic work, Kaluuya has shown fantastic comedic abilities in films like “Johnny English Reborn” along with his early TV projects “Skins” and “Chatroom.”

His capacity to make audiences laugh comes through his innate charm and charisma mixed with expert comic timing. These skills make Kaluuya a multi-talented performer who excels across genres.

Daniel Kaluuya’s Cultural Impact

Some cultural critics identify Kaluuya’s breakout in Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” as a turning point for African American artists flourishing in mainstream genre films.

As both a genuine hit and a piece of searing social commentary, “Get Out” established a precedent for Black actors starring in substantial, financially successful movies outside the traditional space of indie dramas centered on racism or oppression.

Inspiration for Black Artists

Similarly, Kaluuya himself has emerged as an inspiration for Black writers, directors, and actors. His ability to rise rapidly from modest beginnings into a bonafide A-List movie star in only a few short years offers both motivation and a blueprint for excellence regardless of one’s background.

Furthermore, Kaluuya has used his powerful position in Hollywood to lift up other Black voices by collaborating with and championing Black directors like Ryan Coogler and Jordan Peele.


In only around 15 years since entering the professional film and TV industry as a teenager, Daniel Kaluuya has firmly established himself as one of the most talented actors working today. His meteoric rise from early promise in “Skins” to heart-stopping breakout success in “Get Out” speaks to how his prodigious gifts as a performer seemingly know no bounds.

Looking ahead, Kaluuya’s recent projects confirm his standing as an A-List leading man. And at just 32 years old, he continues improving his craft while using his powerful platform to lift up other Black artists and challenge narratives around the roles afforded Black performers in mainstream film.

Where Kaluuya’s unique trajectory takes him next poses perhaps the most exciting unknown about this multi-faceted artist whose depth and magnetism at only the start of his prime promise to entertain, provoke and inspire audiences for decades to come. So while emphatically acknowledging all his past achievements, in many ways it feels like we have still only glimpsed the beginning of Daniel Kaluuya’s brilliant acting career.

FAQs about Daniel Kaluuya

What nationality is Daniel Kaluuya?

Kaluuya was born in London, England to Ugandan parents who had immigrated to the UK.

How old was Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out?

Kaluuya was 27 years old during the filming of Get Out, playing a character the same age as himself.

Is Daniel Kaluuya related to Lupita Nyong’o?

No, Daniel Kaluuya and Lupita Nyong’o are not related. They are both Black actors who were each raised in different countries in Africa before coming to international fame for their acting abilities.

What accent does Daniel Kaluuya have?

Daniel Kaluuya speaks with a London English accent, which was shaped by being raised around London-native British peers despite having Ugandan parents.

Who is Daniel Kaluuya’s agent?

As of 2020, Daniel Kaluuya is represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for film and television projects. Specifically, he works with CAA agent Maren Olson.