In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Jordan Peele opened up about a myriad of topics, from the bands he listened to as a kid (Tool and Nine Inch Nails) to the films that inspire him (The Sixth Sense, Reservoir Dogs).
Yet, as he walked around Universal Studios Hollywood with RS’ Brian Hiatt (turns out Peele loves the Harry Potter ride), much of the conversation spun around the success of his directorial debut, Get Out. While breaking down the Oscar-winning movie’s themes, the discussion naturally moved to wider societal issues such as racism, parenting, and whether or not Kanye West had fallen in to the Sunken Place.
Find the highlights from Peele’s interview below.
On how ‘Us’ differs from ‘Get Out’
“It’s important to me that we can tell black stories without it being about race. I realized I had never seen a horror movie of this kind, where there’s an African-American family at the center that just is. After you get over the initial realization that you’re watching a black family in a horror film, you’re just watching a movie. You’re just watching people. I feel like it proves a very valid and different point than Get Out, which is, not everything is about race. Get Out proved the point that everything is about race. I’ve proved both points!”
On pitching a ‘Get Out’ themed rollercoaster
“I’ve been trying to pitch a Get Out ride. It’s my ongoing joke — ‘You have to be this color or darker to enter.’ I don’t know how they would do it. But someday, I’m going to have a ride.”
On what the Sunken Place means culturally
(For those who haven’t seen Get Out, the Sunken Place is essentially a second world within a character’s head. It’s brought on via brainwashing techniques and mutes the person’s consciousness. They are, in other words, held captive within their own brain/)
“The Sunken Place is a new term we have to aid us in the discussion of what appears, to me, to be black people choosing an ideology that is racist against black people,”
And why Kanye West’s relationship with Donald Trump doesn’t mean he’s fallen into it
“The thing about Kanye is he’s trying to tell his truth. And there’s something magnetic about people who are trying to tell the truth. I might be wrong, but my feeling is that even when he’s saying something I disagree with, he’s trying to tell his truth, and that’s more than you can say about 90 percent of people.”
On growing up without a father
“So much of that pain is internalized,” he says, “and you don’t really notice it until you’re watching some movie where there’s a father-and-son thing that you just start crying for no reason, or a moment of hanging out with my son and sort of imagining if I wasn’t in his life. There are moments where I have that feeling, but the vast majority of my life has intellectually just not been preoccupied with it, and therefore I felt free from that emotion. But I find that a lot of my work deals with those themes. So I’m definitely working it out.”
On being racist and blind (referencing the art dealer in ‘Get Out’)
“For me, the idea is that the guy who is the farthest from racist, the guy who is literally blind, still plays a part in the system of racism. And the way it manifests in that movie is, yeah, a guy who believes that the eye of this better artist, this black artist, is what’s separating him from being a success or a failure. Which also, to me, is a commentary on a sentiment I was hearing a lot during the Obama era, this whole mythology of a [purported] advantage of being black in this culture.”