Morgan Freeman: Why Black Actors Quit Britain
Morgan Freeman, the Oscar-winning star, says black British actors often have to leave the country in order to find work. Britain is often said to be a more racially harmonious country than America, but Morgan Freeman claims that black actors are denied chances in this country.
“I know at least three actors who left Britain for the States because opportunities for them here in the UK were limited,” the American actor tells Mandrake at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises at the BFI Imax in London.
“The British film industry definitely has more work to do on that front. It needs to catch up with the times; it has much more progress to make.”
The Oscar-winning actor, whose roles have included American presidents and Nelson Mandela in Invictus, adds: “I think Hollywood is pulling it off quite well for young black actors. There’s a lot of opportunities over in the US.”
Freeman’s comments echo complaints by black British actors, including David Harewood, who starred in the hit American drama series Homeland. In February, Harewood said he was forced to go to America to win a starring role. “Unfortunately, there really aren’t that many roles for authoritative, strong, black characters in this country,” he said.
Patrick Robinson, who has appeared in television series such as Casualty, claimed that he was ostracised by one of the BBC’s executives for almost a decade after he spoke out about the lack of opportunities for black actors.
“Ask any lay person to name five British black actors and they wouldn’t be able to,” he said. “Idris Elba had to go to America to make it in The Wire before they asked him back here.
“There are some white actors who hardly ever seem to be out of work. Look at the guys from Life On Mars and Mad Dogs, like Philip Glenister, Marc Warren and John Simm – they never stop. But we just don’t get those chances.”
Written by Tim Walker. Edited by Richard Eden
Taken from www.telegraph.co.uk