Jordan Peele on ‘Us’, Making Monsters, and the Possibility of a Shared Peele Universe

     March 20, 2019

With Us, comedian turned horror maestro Jordan Peele took a pair of golden scissors to the idea of a sophomore slump. The filmmaker’s follow-up to Get Out is a straight up horror masterpiece, one that not only spooks the hell out of you in the theater but burrows into your head for long after the credits roll. That’s partly because the premise is so simple: The Wilson family—Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) and Gabe (Winston Duke) with their two children Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex)—is on a summer vacation when four violent home invaders arrive to shatter the lakeside peace. The Wilsons soon realizes their assailants aren’t burglars — they’re “them”, four twisted but identical copies of each family member.

us-poster-lupita-nyongoBefore the film’s premiere, I sat down with the filmmaker to discuss Us, doppelgängers, monsters, shared universes, Easter Eggs, and more. Check out what he had to say in the player above, and below is exactly what we talked about.

Jordan Peele:

  • Whether went down the rabbit hole of researching doppelgängers or just started with the basic premise of “seeing yourself would be scary”.
  • Seeing Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of Fangoria, and when he realized he was creating a movie monster to stand alongside the classics.
  • How much control and thought he put into all of the film’s many Easter Eggs.
  • Whether he has ever thought about turning his films into a shared universe like James Wan‘s Conjuring films or J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield franchise.

Here is the official synopsis for Us:

Set in present day along the iconic Northern California coastline, Us, from Monkeypaw Productions, stars Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson, a woman returning to her beachside childhood home with her husband, Gabe (Black Panther’s Winston Duke), and their two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex) for an idyllic summer getaway. Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers (Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon), Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway.

Us pits an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves. Writer and director Peele produces for his Monkeypaw Productions alongside Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, and Monkeypaw’s Ian Cooper. Us will be released by Universal Pictures on Friday, March 15, 2019.

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