Filmmaker Jordan Peele’s critical and commercial success with both “Get Out” and “Us” has come in part from the fact that by keeping his budgets tight ($5m & $20m respectively), he’s been able to have full creative freedom with his projects and thus not have to abide by industry-approved standards.
Indeed, forging ones own path in filmmaking has proven a successful formula for auteurs from John Carpenter to Paul Thomas Anderson. Speaking at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre this week, Peele revealed that whilst he was writing the script for “Get Out” he kept second-guessing himself and wondered if he was doing the right thing. He says:
“Every two weeks I’d go, ‘What the f–k am I doing? I’m writing a movie where a black man is victimized and all the white people are evil and I’m trying to get the audience to have fun,’ but if you could make that fun … that’s what brought me back.”
With that film’s success, and his newfound credibility, Peele says he’s been fortunate enough to be given the power to do the projects the way he wants to do them like he did with “Us”:
“The way I look at it, I get to cast black people in my movies. I feel fortunate to be in this position where I can say to Universal, ‘I want to make a $20 million horror movie with a black family’ and they say yes. I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie. Not that I don’t like white dudes. But I’ve seen that movie. It really is one of the best, greatest pieces of this story, is feeling like we are in this time — a renaissance has happened and proved the myths about representation in the industry are false.”
Peele has not discussed what his follow-up film to “Us” will be as he’s been busy producing the reimagining of “The Twilight Zone” for CBS All Access which begins April 1st.