Jordan Peele reveals why he is unlikely to cast a 'white dude' as his lead
Jordan Peele's Get Out was one of the best horror movies of the last decade, and put him on the map as a genuine auteur. Not only was it disturbing, well-plotted and darkly comical, but it was also a great example of why representation and diversity matters in modern cinema. Get Out told an important story about the contemporary African-American experience, and the subtle forms of racism which people of colour face today.
This week, when speaking at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in East Hollywood, the comedian-turned-filmmaker shared his own personal feelings about the importance of diversity in movies, and revealed that he feels no kind of pressure to cast a white lead now that he has the opportunity to cast minority actors instead.
Peele stated: "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. It really is one of the best greatest pieces of this story, feeling like we are in this time [where] a renaissance has happened and proven the myths about representation in the industry are false.
"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 added: "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 ... You have to shelve [your ego]. You have to check it constantly. It’s so easy for it to come out and rear its ugly head. The ego is deceptive and it will screw you up."
Us tells the story of a young African American couple, Adelaide (played by Lupita Nyong’o) and Gabe (played by Winston Duke), who arrive at their holiday home with their kids only to be confronted by a mysterious quartet of doppelgängers. Other cast members include Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, and comedian Tim Heidecker.
Thus far, the movie has performed extremely well both critically and commercially, managing to make an impressive $71.1 million at the box office on its first weekend. This means that Us now holds the title for the biggest opening weekend for an original horror movie, and the third best horror opening of all time after 2018's Halloween sequel and the 2017 reboot of It.