Jordan Peele Has No Interest In Directing Anything Outside His Original Stories

The esteemed director shares with Hypebeast the creative vision for his latest project, ‘NOPE.’

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Releasing his third film since his directorial debut back in 2017 — NOPEJordan Peele has had a stellar track record so far, scoring highly with both the audience and critics alike with his past two projects. But while the Hollywood creative does feel the pressure to continually surpass expectations, he knows that that’s not what it’s about.

Fortunately for Universal Pictures, who has collaborated with Peele on all three films so far, his latest summer thriller topped box offices across the country on its opening weekend, raking in $44 million USD. Becoming the second largest opening for an R-rated film during the COVID era, only behind Halloween Kills and its $49.9 million USD.

Joining us at Hypebeast, the esteemed director shares with us his vision for his latest horror film, his reunion with actor Daniel Kaluuya, his desire to subvert moviegoers’ expectations, and whether he’d ever consider working on something other than his own original stories.

As a director, you hit the ground running with Get Out back in 2017, but you’ve called NOPE your most ambitious film yet. How has your filmmaking process evolved over the years?

Well, it is just that. It’s an evolution, and every time you make a film you have to reinvent the way you do it, because no film is the same. No film has the same requirement. With NOPE, we went big in scope and bit off a vision I didn’t know I could pull off when I first set out. We have an awesome team with Hoyte van Hoytema, the cinematographer and Ruth DeJong, the production designer, and we figured it out.

Both Get Out and Us were extremely well received by both the audience and critics. Do you feel any pressure to keep that track record running?

Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure, but I’ll reference something Jay-Z told me once. I met him once, and he congratulated me on the film. I asked him “Did you see it?” and he replied, “Yeah, I just congratulated you, idiot.” That’s not exactly what he said, but that’s what I felt. He told me “What you did was pretty amazing,” and I said, “What if I can’t do it again?” He just said, “Doesn’t even matter.” So, Jay-Z said it: doesn’t even matter. I don’t feel the pressure anymore, Jay-Z says I’m fine, all I have to do is put my head down and make the best damn movie I can.

A key trait of your films has been the numerous twists and turns in your stories. What’s the drive behind subverting audience expectations?

That’s what movies are about for me. A movie should evolve when you’re watching it every 10 minutes if it can. Keep me on that journey. It started with Get Out, at a time when I didn’t have any money to make a movie. I knew I had to write a script that didn’t need a lot of money to work, so the very basis of how I write a script is to give the audience a ride, understand where my audience is, and try to give them something they didn’t expect but will like even more. That’s where the reveal things come.

The film reunites you with Daniel Kaluuya, who you worked with on your directorial debut in Get Out. How was it like working with him again?

So cool. You know how a director’s dream is to find an actor that you’ll bond with and you’ll work with over and over again. I feel like I’ve found that in Daniel. We just have a connection and we trust each other. We’ve been through it and we just have a way of communicating that’s almost non-verbal at this point.

So far, all your original movies have been very uniquely Jordan Peele, but would you ever consider directing an adaptation of some sort or partake in an existing franchise?

You know what? I’m just so in love with directing my own original stories, so I’ll just leave it at that.

NOPE in theaters now.

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