Writer and comedian Jordan Peele is known for the popular sketch comedy TV series “Key and Peele” and funny films like “Keanu.” But for his debut as a director, he chose an unlikely genre (horror) about a touchy topic (race). Here, Peele lets The Post in on “Get Out.”
The idea first came to me during the beginning of the Barack Obama presidency. And it was meant as a way to address racism and the idea that we were in this post-racial America — this lie that was being told that we are, in fact, past race. Part of the evidence to me that we weren’t past race is that every other human horror has been tackled by my favorite [movie] genre — thrillers — except race. That was it.
You’re always thinking about that. We ended up with this movie, which I feel tonally hits the right balance. But any time something was too funny, or felt like a joke, or didn’t belong, we had to confront it and say, “Either we’re gonna get rid of this, or we’re gonna deliver it in a more grounded way.” And at the same time, it definitely needs the levity because the movie has some very tense scenes.
This scene you’re talking about, I honestly think — not to pat myself on the back — it’s one of the great, most classic scenes in any horror film. And a big reason for that is the performance that Betty Gabriel gives. We started from a place that was kind of a “Stepford Wives” type performance, but it had to be different because these aren’t robots. Something different is going on here.
Betty is an accomplished dancer as well as an actor, so she’s very precise. I instantly knew this was a real moment in the movie. I had her do it about seven times, and each time she nailed it.
It does feel like, “Where has this guy been?” I first found him in Episode 2 of “Black Mirror,” which he is so good in. It was exciting to find Daniel, who should’ve already been a leading man. But I get to take a little piece of his rising star and get a little credit for it. He resembles a Sidney Poitier meets Jimmy Stewart to me, where he’s the everyman — the perfect surrogate for us.
While I was coming up with [“Get Out”], I came up with a handful of other social thrillers. I’m gonna develop those, and I hope to do four more in the next 10 years.
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