Jordan Peele Dishes On “Get Out”
Jordan Peele’s hilariously terrifying (and already critically-acclaimed) Horror-Comedy Get Out is a fearless blend of heart-stopping thrills and satire splashed with the Black experience in not-very-post-racial America that will certainly push audiences to an uncomfortable yet strangely funny place never before explored in mainstream cinema.
We caught up with the Key & Peele funnyman-turned-movie star-turned-writer/director at Morehouse College where he opened up about making the soon-to-be movie of the moment.
“I think people who have criticized this film tend to be the people who haven’t seen it yet. I think the reason it’s resonating is because ‘where has this movie been, then?’ no one has given any concept like this a chance in a long time. We get tired of the same ‘ole thing. The real thing that’s poppin’ off about this movie is that it feels like ‘this is a missing piece’ we missed this. This movie should’ve been made 40 years ago, in some ways.
This is the plot of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? which, by the way, you could do today and not change a word. So, I think it’s a fair opinion but I think it’s more because we missed this piece of the puzzle”
Get Out is completely ridiculous (in the best possible way) with a soul-sizzling message that will hopefully reignite productive conversations about race in America.
“First of all, it acknowledges issues that have gone unacknowledged so I think, in that, I believe we need to be discussing these things. I believe we need to have these conversations. I also believe the way we talk about race is tiring to a lot of people and often falls apart because of our egos and people getting defensive… some people so don’t want to be considered racist that they can’t look within themselves.
So, I think content like this that is entertainment, first and foremost, I think that’s the end. That’s the Trojan Horse. We can come in, we can watch, we can have a good time, scream, yell, laugh, get scared, and then afterward you have to acknowledge what happened to you when you were in there.
At that point, I feel like it should–I hope it promotes constructive conversation where we were all on the same page watching that movie so we can all agree that that movie rings true. Now, if you date a white guy you can be like ‘look, honey, I’m not trying to go to your house -laughs- I think that’s in some small way… hopefully, that is beginning to heal the conversation because it’s putting another touchstone where you can refer to it like ‘remember that dude in Get Out? That’s what you’re doing right now’ you know, we can have that conversation”
Movies directed by actors-turned-directors are a mixed bag of meh but there’s no doubting Jordan Peele’s eye for visceral visuals in his directorial debut.
“I learned a lot from the director of Key & Peele and Keanu–Peter Atencio. I learned directing is very hard–hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And it was kind of a different process writing the movie as it was directing and bringing all that together. Ultimately, I learned that this idea that I thought would never get made–the freedom I was able to give myself by saying ‘I’m not even gonna try and be ambitious with this. This is for me and me only.’
That gave me a freedom that allowed me to get to something that has resonated enough to get this current Rotten Tomatoes score of 100% so now I feel like ‘oh my God. What I like is universal even if it’s the most left field sort of idea on paper from Hollywood… make a Horror movie about race? No, that’s not happening.
But if you’re true to yourself people feel that when you’re watching. People know ‘he’s doing him right now’ and I recognize it. Our souls are the same in a way and if you do justice to your emotion and your soul that’s where the commonality in all of us comes up. And I love seeing this in a Black crowd but I love seeing it in a mixed crowd too because everyone’s on the same ride. It transcends our differences, that’s a surprise to me”
Peele’s impressive direction shines alongside the perfect casting of unforgettable characters.
“Every character was its own adventure figuring out. Now with Keith, Atlanta hadn’t come out when we made this movie. I casted LaKeith from his work on Short Term 12, Selma, Compton, you know, and he has this quality where it’s like ‘I don’t know who that is but I like that guy. I like that guy.’ And he is so innately cool that I thought if I can get him in here and have the flip be the least cool–the least soulful brother that we’ve ever seen that it would be sorta jarring. But every character had their own requirements for me to tell the story.
With “Rose,” with Allison Williams, I needed that relationship to be something that we want to work which is very difficult, especially with interracial relationships where it’s like there’s people on both sides who don’t want to see that work.
“Making that relationship work, I had to have somebody that fit this mold of ‘you know what, yes, she’s undeniably caucasian but she’s also waking up and she’s funny and she’s intelligent and she’s kinda a badass with that cop -laughs- every character had their own thing I was looking for”
Comedy’s best-kept secret Lil Rel Howery shines at the heart of Get Out and will certainly be everyone’s favorite new comedian by Monday.
“He feels very familial to a lot of people. He’s got that feeling where it’s like ‘I know this dude. This is my cousin, this is my brother, this is my best friend. So, that was very important.
He’s an amazing comedian. He’s a great improviser, many times I could be like ‘Rell you gotta say this line in the way that makes the most sense to you. Gimme several reads’ and he would find these new hilarious ways to do it.
Most importantly, when it all came down to it, that’s a situation where that’s the guy I was picturing when I was writing it. And when I realized, I was like ‘Oh, Lil Rel! That. Is. Rod. Like, you just can’t take that away so it was all three of those things but, damn, what perfect casting, man. I’m so happy I got him”
Get Out hits theaters TODAY and it’s an absolute MUST SEE. No, seriously.