Speaking for February-mired, Oscars-weary moviegoers everywhere: “Get Out” has come along just in time.
The film is both outrageous and deadpan, a mixture that keeps audiences discombobulated throughout. Writer-director Jordan Peele classifies his low-budget $4.5 million directorial feature debut, estimated to make $25-$30 million in its opening weekend, as a “social thriller.” In its story of an interracial couple played by Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams meeting the young woman’s parents for the first time, “Get Out” shrewdly exploits fears and stereotypes of all kinds, familiar especially to those LWB (Living While Black). The movie also delivers a deliriously violent payoff beloved by fans of revenge horror.
And it’s funny.'Get Out' trailer
The trailer for "Get Out," written and directed by Jordan Peele.
The trailer for "Get Out," written and directed by Jordan Peele.See more videos
Born in New York City, Peele, 38, is best known for “Key & Peele,” the TV sketch comedy emporium costarring Keegan-Michael Key, like Peele an alum of the Chicago comedy and improvisation circuit. The show, building on the success Peele and Key had together on “Mad TV,” ran five seasons. Peele and his wife, comedian Chelsea Peretti, are expecting a child later this year.
“Get Out” puts Peele in an excellent position for a career as a writer-director with real talent on both sides of the hyphen.
We spoke by phone Friday afternoon. Some excerpts:
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MP: Thanks for making a good movie.
JP: Thank you, man. Thank you.
MP: Did this script change greatly from first draft to what we see on screen?
JP: It kept getting better, I think. It definitely changed. I had many different endings, tried out a lot of different endings, some darker than others. By the time we were actually shooting, I had a clearer vision of what the purpose of the movie was: to offer some escape, some release, a hero (to deal with) some of the racial horrors we’ve been living with the last couple of years.
MP: Another way of saying it: Did you have to decide how much to make the audience eat it, versus giving them a sense of satisfaction?
JP: Exactly. When I first started writing it, the movie was meant to confront the audience a little bit more, with the justified fear of being black in certain situations in this country. By the time I shot it, that awakening had been already begun. Everyone had already started talking about the murders of young black men by police. So by the time we made it, we knew that people didn’t need to woken up about anything. We needed to approach this topic in a way that allowed us something to cheer about, and cheer for.
MP: If this story were treated humorlessly, you’d have a blunt racial parable on your hands and it’d be over in about 20 minutes.
JP: The conversation about race is so uncomfortable and disheartening at times. Our egos, our pride, our feelings of guilt get involved…so you have to give the audience an escape, and an experience. You have to reward them for coming to see your movie.
MP: In this case, it means seeing the hero gore someone with a set of deer antlers.
JP: (laughs): Exactly.
JP: I’m totally hooked on writing-directing; I’ve got other social thrillers I’ve been working on that I’d like to direct. I define “social thriller” as thriller/horror movies where the ultimate villain is society. The next movies will be very different, I think, in terms of how on the nose they are. I wanna be a little more allegorical and cinematic. But at the heart of all my future movies is this idea of giving (people) something fun but addressing some sort of innately human demon we’re dealing with every day.
“Get Out” is currently in theaters.
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