Nathalie Emmanuel says UK “loses so much Black and brown talent” to US

"The British [film and TV] industry just doesn’t hold space in a meaningful, significant way"

Nathalie Emmanuel has shared her frustration with casting opportunities for actors of colour in the UK.

The Game Of Thrones and Fast & Furious actor pointed to the quality and diversity of roles being offered in US film and TV productions, and noted that many British actors are surprised to be offered relatively smaller roles back home.

Speaking on Munroe Bergdof’s The Way We Are podcast, Emmanuel said: “We lose so much Black and brown talent to the States because the British industry just doesn’t hold space in a meaningful, significant way. It’s frustrating.

Advertisement

“All cultures and ethnicities were being seen for parts in the US and not just ‘the best friend’ or ‘the receptionist’ bit parts – it was lead roles and significant characters.”

Fast and Furious
Nathalie Emmanuel in ‘Fast & Furious 8’ (2017). CREDIT: Itaca Films/Alamy Stock Photo

She continued: “Even now some British Black people I know in the industry who are British-born who have gone to the US where they’ve been playing lead in shows, they come back to the UK and the parts they are being asked to audition for, you’re just like ‘wait, I’ve just led a show for a major network’. We are still battling that.”

“I don’t really see that happening to my white counterparts,” the actor said, adding: “It’s also important to note my mixed raceness, my privilege in that probably afforded me more opportunity in that market too.”

It’s not the first time the 32-year-old English actor has spoken about her experience of racism. As well as recalling some of the various racist microaggressions she had received across previous jobs last year (September 6, 2021), she shared a screenshot in 2018 of racist and misogynist abuse she had received online.

Advertisement

“Not really the kinda post you want to put out at the start of a new week,” Emmanuel captioned the post. “Also not here to preach…. but in case anyone was wondering what having to deal with regular misogyny and racism is like… here you go.”

Advertisement
Advertisement