Daniel Kaluuya on Directorial Debut for Sci-Fi Film

In addition to starring in the likes of Get Out, Nope, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Daniel Kaluuya’s previously written for TV. Back when he was playing Posh Kenneth on BBC’s Skins, he contributed to the writing for the show’s first two seasons and eventually penned his own episodes in the respective season two and three episodes “Jal” and “Thomas.” He’s put his focus in front of the camera since then, but for his next project, he’ll be writing and directing himself.

That film, The Kitchen, will mark the feature-length directorial debut for both Kaluuya and co-director Kibwe Tavares. During an interview with Empire Magazine, Kaluuya talked about his desire to make this a “seminal London film” influenced by the directors he previously worked with—like Steve McQueen, Shaka King, and yes, Ryan Coogler—and the likes of Do the Right Thing, This is England, and The Prophet. In wanting to build upon those films, his and Tavares’ aim wanted to make the London they saw from their childhoods: “The markets felt like Kibwe’s reality in terms of Brixton,” he recalled, “and mine when I was in Ridley Road Market and Seven Sisters. My mum used to take me, and I’d just be there for no reason because of the energy and the vibe that I felt.”

The Kitchen is set in a dystopian future London where social housing’s been outlawed. The only building that hasn’t been demolished is the titular estate, home to the duo of Izi (Kane Robinson) and Benji (Jedidiah Bannerman) and a community of tenants that refuse to let themselves be pushed out. Kaluuya co-wrote the film with Rob Hayes and fellow Skins alum Joe Murtagh; beyond the films mentioned above, The Kitchen draws on his and Tavares’ respective childhoods in London. Tavares previously called the film a “love letter to our city” back in August, and for Kaluuya, that meant stepping back from the common minimalist style of British-made films in favor of maximalism.

Citing those aforementioned influences, Kaluuya said he and Tavares wanted to “build upon the amazing work that the people before us have done, and do our own version of it. […] Let’s think big, see big and see where we land, but still be real about what we are and where we’re at.”

The Kitchen will hit Netflix on January 12, 2024.

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