Jordan Peele wants to make horror movies centered around black families | Fast Company
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Jordan Peele wants to make horror movies centered around black families | Fast Company


– Jordan, I want to go back to the months preceding Blumhouse and
Universal agreeing to work with you to make “Get Out.” If you hadn’t partnered with them, what route would have taken
to get that movie made? – It’s hard to say. Look, I mean, we, you know, truth be told, we were with QC Entertainment, brought us to Blumhouse and Universal, and it’s hard to know where,
what would have happened, where it would have ended up. What I do know is, once
Blumhouse and Universal came on board and, by the way, we shopped it around,
because we were looking for a partnership, we
were looking for a studio, shopped around, many people
just didn’t get it, the script, just didn’t understand it. We got some really, some pretty rude feedback,
to be honest, and– – What as the rudest thing you’d heard? – You know, I think I,
I think there’s a letter from someone who won’t be named, where they called it stupid, said this is, this is
stupid, it won’t work. I just remember that, that
word stupid coming out. I’m like, stupid? Come on, it’s a lot of
things, it’s not stupid, they, you know, but, we
brought it to some places who were kind of looking for a nice, straight down the middle horror movie that they could, great, do for, you know, five million dollars and then it would, it would check all the boxes, and Blumhouse, Universal, and QC, this partnership, I think, as I did, by the way, saw it as a risk, but a worthy risk to invest
not, not too much money in, and then, and so the real, what Universal did for me was really increase this
chance that it could get, be seen in a theater, or the crazy scenario of
getting a wide release, of sort of being a small
film that breaks through and is, is one of the, you know, is one of these sort of, these Blumhouse projects
that sort of breaks through, and there was awhile there
where even the movie was made, and everybody knew it was good, but I think there was
still a little bit like, okay, I mean, this is, this is a big, it’s a big move, it’s a big swing, and it seems like it’s working because everybody that sees it
gets it, and yet there’s… I mean, there is a big unknown in terms of how this could
be, how this could land in certain places and whatnot, and so anyway, they didn’t have to sort
of step over that boundary of saying, look, we’re
gonna take a movie where all the white people are evil, and a black, the black
lead goes through misery for, you know, for two hours. We’re gonna put that out there
and we’re gonna commit to it and we’re gonna market it. – How do you think the industry is doing? I feel like the success
of “Get Out” and “Us” has in some ways emboldened
the people who want to sort of put their hands over their ears or their hands over their eyes to say, oh, mission accomplished, you know, Hollywood is diverse now. Where are we in your mind? – Well, you know, I think mission, you know, I can’t quite
see what would make me say, you know, ever say
mission is accomplished. No, you know I’ve, obviously there’s a, there’s still big, a
problem with diversity, and I’ve definitely
seen we’ve sort of moved in the right direction,
and we continue to move in the right direction. In terms of, in terms of on
screen in front of camera, and behind the camera, there’s still a lot of work to go, but you know, I was, one of the, one of the
movies that really signaled that there was, something was changing, for me, was “Straight Outta Compton,” because of how successful
it was and how good it was and how committed to the, how committed to that story it was, but when I came into pitch “Us,” I remember, you know,
I pitch with a lot of sort of comparisons as
to why this will work and how to market this, and
I would say things like, well, you can think of
this in terms of sort of, there’s the “Poltergeist”
sort of thing going on here. There’s something that
appeals on the mass scale of a zombie film, but
there’s also something more intimate and
personal about this thing, and sort of pitching all these ways, and one of the last things
I got to in that pitch was, quite frankly, I’ve
never seen a horror movie with a black family at the center of it, and it not being a movie
about them being black, but just that, we’ve seen
the white family go through all manner of haunted house. (audience laughing) And stay way longer than they should have. So, let’s make a movie
where a black family gets the fuck out immediately. (audience laughing) No, but just, just that
we’ve crossed a threshold where that is a selling
point in the industry, at the very least, in
this office that I was in, and that is, that’s just a wonderful feeling, to be one of the few to be able to sort of break through and to begin to engage the industry with these kinds of stories. So, I’m very optimistic,
but we have a lot of work.

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