Fresh off the success of his latest horror film Us, which brought in over $70 million on opening weekend, director Jordan Peele declared that he would not cast a “white dude as the lead” in his movies.
On Monday, Peele had a candid conversation at East Hollywood’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre speaking to the standing-room-only audience about his career, his marijuana use, Get Out, Us, and his upcoming The Twilight Zone reboot.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Peele discussed how he wanted to become a producer after MADtv refused to let him out of his contract to work on Saturday Night Live.
“I wanted to be a producer. These producers are making these decisions about art and comedy and they don’t know anything about art and comedy. I want to be a producer and bring my artistry and they’ll all be sorry.”
He would then give himself seven to eight years to become a successful producer and noted that his hit horror film Get Out was one of the early scripts he created.
“Every two weeks I’d go, ‘What the f*** 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.”
Get Out would go on to earn over $255 million at the global box office on an estimated production budget of just $4.5 million. A stirring success at the box office.
Following the success of Get Out, Peele discussed how he pitches ideas to Universal now.
“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.”
He would add, “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.”
However, Peele also discussed how he views directing and the responsibility of hiring people, “Nothing is more important. The more you are armed with what you take in, the more ammo you have. … Directing for me is about hiring the right people, listening to them and helping them do the best job possible.”
Peele previously noted that unlike Get Out, Us is not about race:
“Very important for me was to have a black family at the center of a horror film. But it’s also important to note, unlike Get Out, Us is not about race. It is instead about something that I feel has become an undeniable truth. And that is the simple fact that we are our own worst enemies.”
He would add:
“I dedicated a lot of myself to create a new horror mythology and a new monster. I think that monsters and stories about monsters are one of our best ways of getting at deeper truths and facing our fears as a society.”
He would echo these thoughts when discussing his upcoming reboot of The Twilight Zone specifically the episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”:
“It points out the ugliness and flaws of humanity. That’s what I like to do with my stories. The real monsters are within us. When people get together we are the greatest monster we’ve ever known.”
It’s a great episode and considered to be both one of Rod Serlings bests as well as one of his most thought-provoking episodes. Though in my opinion, The Obsolete Man is still one of the best.
Peele’s The Twilight Zone reboot will debut on Monday on CBS All Access.
— The Twilight Zone (@TheTwilightZone) March 27, 2019
Us is currently in theaters.
What do you think of Jordan Peele’s thoughts on casting? Let me know in the comments!