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Jordan Peele on ‘Us’ & His Future Projects | The Big Picture | MTV News


(music) – Thanks for stopping by. – Always a pleasure. (music) – It was only a few short years ago that you and Keegan
were shooting water guns into my crotch. (Josh and Jordan laughing) The transformation is complete, my friend. Which is very apropos, given the duality at the heart of this film. – Yes, you don’t know whether or not I’m myself, or if
my tethered dopplegänger has come up and killed the real Jordan. And now I’ve decided
to make horror movies. – I didn’t even think of it that way. But is it more satisfying in a way, you’ve obviously achieved such success, in the comedic space, as much acclaim as you can get. Is there something almost more satisfying to get this kind of acclaim
on ‘Get Out’ and ‘Us?’ – Yes. I’ve been in comedy for, you know, many years, I was in comedy, and I got my fair share of laughs, and I failed at getting my fair share of laughs. And laughter is great. It feels awesome, but,
when you make an audience, like, (shudders), when
you get that shudder, it is a different level of, like power. It’s just so cool, and I think part of it is because it’s, it’s helping me conquer my own fears. – Right. – This whole thing. – Well, it’s funny,
because I would imagine one of the kind of stock
questions people ask you, for these last two films, these sort of recurring nightmares. Right? And, I’m guessing almost one of the recurring
nightmares, if I were you, would be, how do I succeed ‘Get Out?’ How do I not disappoint, audiences, getting the Oscar, becoming a pop culture
phenomenon? Were you racked with that kind of burden, going into this one? Because
it’s a tough act to follow. – Yes, I was very racked with that burden. You know, last year at the Oscars, I went to … I’m gonna tell a cool story about myself. (Josh laughing) If that’s okay. – They’re only cool stories about you. – I went to the Gold Party afterward, which is Jay-Z’s party. So I met Jay-Z, and I’m like, aaaaaah, and he’s giving me, “No, you. What you’ve done, like you don’t even understand.” And I was like, “Did you see it more than once?” He was like, “What!? What!?” And so it was the coolest night, and at some point is was like, how do you follow this up? It worked perfectly, I’m just afraid I’m not gonna be able to
replicate, or beat it. And he goes, “It doesn’t matter. “You already did that.” And I was like, you know– – It’s all gravy now, it’s all– – When Jay-Z … When Jay-Z tells you it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. You’re good. I’m good. And I could just return to this idea of, make my favorite film that didn’t exist. – We’ve talked before
about, we both grew up here in New York City, yet these first two, kind of, installments in this new career, they’re not about urban environments. Do you find suburban settings, non-urban settings, more chilling, more disturbing than horror set in an urban environment? – Horror movies that are … take place in dark, dusty, muddy houses or basements, it’s kind of like, meh.
– What do you expect? – But the horror movies that take place in idyllic environments, you know, ‘The Stepford Wives,’ the Jaws, even ‘The Shining,’ the horror you can get from daylight and places that are supposed to be a vacation, I think that they’re eerier, scarier, you know, there’s a more satirical horror to them. Also they kind of give the audience their cake and they get to eat it, too. – Right. – They get to kind of go on an adventure, or a vacation, as opposed
to being claustrophobic, and– – Totally, totally. – So that’s my style. – You’ve talked a little
bit about how this film, is dealing with this
pervasive fear of the other, that is in the zeitgeist right now, in particular, I’m curious, do think this film would have emerged in your brain had the election of 2016 not happened? How much of it is born out of our lives and times right now? – You know, hard to say. The first I do, when I’m trying to come up with a movie, is, I listen to myself. So listen to my emotion,
what makes me scared, you know, this idea of the dopplegänger came up because I’ve been afraid of the idea of seeing myself since I was younger, – What do you mean by
that, seeing yourself? – Well, I would literally picture myself across the subway platform, as a kid growing up in New York City, and it was a fun, sort
of titillating fear, but it was primal, and I didn’t, I hadn’t intellectualized it or hadn’t really thought about it, but it’s always been present, an idea of yourself giving
you a knowing smile, sort of indicating, I’m the version that was ready for this. There’s something chilling about that. So I wanted to make a dopplegänger story, and the idea of a family of dopplegängers, when I got that idea,
when I got that spark, I knew it would be a new direction in dopplegänger lore. Right? And then only in analyzing this and why this was coming up, do I get at this idea,
because collectively we have a dark side. Right? To answer your question, I didn’t set out to make a movie about
a post-Trump America, but, it’s not an accident that these were my fears, were surrounding this sense of us, as a collective. Our demons. Certainly I, at a certain point, decided to use United States imagery, from, whether it’s the genocide of the Native American people, or our xenophobia, and privilege. But however you define us, in order for you to have us,
there’s gotta be a them. – Right. – And I think that’s, in its core, what this movie is about, is we will value our own, however we see it, more than we’ll value the other. – How important is it for you, that, at the center of this film, is middle-class to upper-middle-class African-American family, we talk a lot about representation now.
Growing up did you see yourself depicted in
horror movies generally? And how important is it for you nowadays to kind of change that? – No, I didn’t. The closest would’ve been ‘The People Under the Stairs,’ which was actually pretty darn close. A little black kid in a house of, a house where there’s a psychotic, weird, kinky white family. Great film. But otherwise, no. There was no black families in the center of a horror film. There’s elements of this film that are following in
the Amblin tradition, of family working through their dynamic. – Right, the ‘Poltergeist’
kind of a thing. – The ‘Poltergeist,’
‘Jaws,’ Close Encounters. And when I realized, yeah, we haven’t gotten a black family in that scenario, I realized that there was a whole, different reason this movie was important, even though the movie itself, plot-wise, is not about race. – Sure. I think this is Lupita’s first leading role? – Yeah. – In a film, which is just bananas to even think about. – Yeah. If not our most talented star that we have, and I think,
if the opportunities have come by her, they probably haven’t been good enough. – Right. – It just highlights this idea, that, we’re still very much in … living with the systemic, sort of, failure when it comes to representation, and I was just so lucky to get her and to be able help her show the world– – A couple of new sides
to her in this one. – Yeah. And, why she’s queen. – Well, it’s funny, I
remember we had a chat once where we talked about
your horror influences growing up, but also about sci-fi, and you talked about
your love of ‘Aliens,’ growing up and how you were obsessed, you had the face-hugger. – Over my bed, I had the face-hugger, just dangled over my bed. – That’s the first indication that things are gonna go– – Something’s wrong. – Gonna go weird as
some point in your life. – The call’s coming from inside the house. – Exactly. So, clearly, there’s the shadow of Ripley, I would
think, a little bit here. – Oh, hell yeah. – That classic, iconic character. – Yeah, yeah, yeah. – Is that something you
talked about with Lupita a little bit? – Yes. I’ve been telling her, look, this is gonna be a thing, you, going down to save your son, with a, spoiler alert, on your journey with your fire-poker weapon, it’s like, iconic, let’s go, mom-power stuff. That is so Ripley. She hadn’t seen it and I was on a plane with her recently, where
‘Alien’ was an option, the first one. – Okay. – And so we watched that, and she’s not the best equipped for horror movies, but I think that’s why she was– – Perfect. – Perfect. She’s ready to … the darkness is like, suppressed, like it is with most of us, so I think
she got some kind of, therapeutic– – She got something out
of it to … yeah, okay. – I think so. I think so. – One curious thing.
There’s so much iconography you’re playing with throughout the film, one is a prominent use
of a ‘Thriller’ t-shirt, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’ And, I’m just curious, if you were making the film today, would you put that front and center still? There’s obviously, the dial around Michael
Jackson is changing, it feels like week by week now, and a lot of people are re-evaluating, where he stands in the culture. – If it was today, I probably would’ve thrown a couple more Michael Jackson– – Really? – T-shirts in. I mean,
he is a fascinating, being, and he … this moment, when it starts in the ’80s, there is this examination of ’80s duality, whether it’s Hands Across America, or Michael Jackson, ‘Thriller,’ actually, this is …
Hands Across America, the thing that inspired me to bring that in was, I believe, an MTV commercial. – Really? – For Hands Across America. – For those that don’t
remember, was – People tethering themselves together, hand in hand, to cure hunger. – Sure. It’s only natural. – Yes, and it sort of connected to me, in this Michael Jackson duality, that, there’s this great philanthropy with this underbelly of darkness, that is, kind of confusing, in the type of nostalgia it gives me. – Right. Coming off of ‘Get Out.’ It’s safe to say, the opportunities that were
at your feet were endless. I think it’s so cool
that you went this way, and if anything, this is more out there than ‘Get Out.’ I mean that as a compliment. – Thank you, I like that. – And I like that you, sort of, that’s how you tackled the expectations. But I’m curious, was it tough to say no to franchises? I’m sure you’ve had …
if I were a betting man, I would bet you a million dollars that Marvel offered you
several different films. Would you take that bet with me? – You know what? I did get a lot of amazing opportunities. And, they were, I think in retrospect they sort of amounted to something I was entertaining, because the dream, any one of these things is a dream come true. – Sure. – But in the back of my head I knew it wasn’t meant to be. There are a few of us out there, trying it’s scary work and it’s bold work to write original movies. And, whenever one of these things came up, or like rumors circulated,
my fan base would collectively tell me, “Noooo!” So, I love that. I love that. That to me, means, if
I write something new, and write it from the heart and try and make my favorite movie that doesn’t exist yet, if it fails, it fails. But I did what I’m here to do. – You’ve been open before
after ‘Get Out’ came out that you toyed with
ideas for a continuation of that story. Is there a treatment? Is there an actual document with ideas for a ‘Get Out’ sequel? – No. All of this stuff is in my head. I build a little bit
of a sandbox up there, of images, and ideas, and
sometimes they connect and sometimes they don’t. 80% of it will never see the light of day. – Right. – But, it’s all a part of staying as creative as possible. Following the fun of what I would want to see. – If there’s a downside to all the success, I would guess that, is the final nail in the coffin of your acting career, thanks to your success as a filmmaker? Like, are you entertaining ideas to act again, or are you just so down this path that it’s not even interesting to you? – Getting to host ‘The Twilight Zone’ is, will satisfy my on-camera desires, which really aren’t much. The anxiety of being onscreen is less fun than the anxiety of creating from behind the camera. – So more likely at this point for you to cast yourself or Keegan in one of your future films? – More likely for me to cast Keegan, by a longshot. – Also, you’re co-writing and producing the ‘Candyman’ continuation,
sequel, reboot? Whatever we wanna call it,
but what should we call it? – We’re calling it a spiritual sequel. – Okay. – Whatever that means, but– – I don’t know what that means. – I don’t either, but, it’s … yeah, we sort of reserve the right to connect to the mythology in our own specific way. – Right. And as if the last couple of years couldn’t get great enough for you, you also, are maybe most responsible for getting Spike Lee his Oscar. It wouldn’t have happened without you. That’s gotta be a crazy
source of pride to see, someone you grew up with. – I was very fortunate enough to be in the right position where QC Entertainment brought me this script, and I was able to hop on board and add some momentum to it and get Spike on board. And of course we deal with Focus and Blumhouse. It didn’t hit me until
Spike got his award, his Oscar, how historic, a thing this was to have been a part of. And, when that happened, I was just like, a faucet. Just watching him deliver his speech, and that was just like
30 years in the making. Just so– – It’s amazing. – Remarkable. – It’s been a good couple of years for you, man. Congratulations on ‘Us.’ Now, just for the record, should the Star Wars and Marvel folks not call you? Like, are you totally cool
on not hearing from them? Or should they keep your
number, just in case? – You know what? I’m good. – All right. I like that. – Okay, cool. – I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. – [Josh] Okay, excellent.

29 Comments

  1. BreMiller Author

    It would be awesome if he directed a season of 'The American Horror Story'….. You'd just hear your neighbors screaming and yelling "oh shit" and you'd know what they're watching😂😂😂

    Reply
  2. Chandros Evans Author

    Yeah n my opinion Peele's better off without Marvel and Star Wars he doesn't need them if anything they need him and I hope he keeps churning out more original stories especially horror stories that he could bring 2 the big screen

    Reply
  3. oliver js Author

    I had no idea Jordan Peele was such a huge fan of Alien!!! Can you imagine a horror movie about aliens directed by him? That would be so cool!

    Reply
  4. Grayson Gaines Author

    I just watched the movie for the 2nd time and I also found more secrets.

    When addalade says “I can feel her coming”, she can actually feel her coming because she IS the tethered, and the tethered knows where there doppleganger is, but their doppleganger doesn’t know where they are. It explains everything

    Reply
  5. Jeff Belanger Author

    Jordan is a fucking genius. I personally hate horror and thriller movies but ive always been a fan of Jordan. I finally watched get out and loved it. Then i heard he was behind "Us" So i watched that and loved it. His movies are so different and original. Looking forward to more from him. Respect

    Reply
  6. Mortal Kombat Fan Author

    He Should Work On A Sleepaway Camp & Gremlins Reboots I Hope He Makes Sleepaway Camp So Terrying And Gremlins A Little Bit Scary 🙂

    Reply

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