Jordan Peele is best known as one half of the comedic duo, Key & Peele. They have captured the attention of fans worldwide with their no nonsense humour and satire. They examine life through a combination of filmed sketches and live stage segments, demonstrating their unique chemistry, camaraderie and point of view.
Although the comedians are still going strong, Jordan Peele felt he had more to share and decided to write and direct his first feature film, which just so happens to be a horror. The film recently debuted at the Sundance film festival to rave reviews and created quite a buzz due to the story’s undertones.
In Get Out, Peele plays the scares straight and tackles racial politics head on. It stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, an African-American photographer, who is about to meet his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) parents for the first time when he’s rattled to learn that she has not told them he is black. His anxiety increases when her father (Bradley Whitford) goes out of his way to tell him that he would have voted for Mr. Obama for a third term and when the forced smiles of the parents’ black servants start seeming a little uncomfortable. Racial aggression and some looming signs begin to manifest themselves in horrific dreams as the film slowly takes a foreboding turn.
Jordan, who has always tried to look at life with a sense of humour says that somewhere deep down he has always had a love for horror.
“I have a very dark imagination,” Peele disclosed during our recent interview in Los Angeles. “I was terrified of horror movies as a kid but at some point I said something that can affect me that much is something I have to have respect for and from that moment on I have been an avid horror movie fan.”
Stars Allison Williams (Girls) and Daniel Kaluuya were immediately intrigued by the script, and applaud their director for being brave enough to bring this story to the big screen. “Even in his comedy with Key and Peele, they are always taking heavy subject matter and looking at it with a humorous tone,” say Williams. “So, for Peele to branch out on his own and tackle racism in this way is just brilliant. I truly believe this is not only a movie that will entertain, but will definitely make people think.”
Peele insists that the movie is not autobiographical, but the story did stem from some real life experiences. “It’s not about my wife (he is married to Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine Nine) and it’s not about my wife’s family because I wrote it before I met her, but it is about being black in America and specifically when you are in situations when you feel like an outsider.”
The movie blatantly looks at the differences between blacks and whites and perceptions we have from both sides. It’s a fascinating look at our cultures and makes a strong statement about race, but does Peele feel that different things scare black and white audiences?
In a recent interview with the New York Times, the filmmaker addressed that theory. “We did one test for this film, and I noticed a similarity with the way people experienced it. That made me so happy. I wanted to make something that has a perspective that you don’t often see, but I also wanted it to be an inclusive movie. That’s the power of story and genre. You can ask a white person to see the world through the eyes of a black person for an hour and a half.”
Get Out opens in theaters across the country on February 24th.
Here is my complete interview with Jordan Peele for Get Out.