Jordan Peele says that while he is grateful for the recognition he has received for “Get Out,” the film’s success proves a valuable lesson about the ability of black films and filmmakers.
“When you give black voices a platform and the opportunity to tell our story, we will tell good stories just like anybody else,” Peele said in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “The power of story and the power of a well-crafted film or television show is really all you need to speak to people.”
Peele became the first black writer-director to land a $100 million feature debut with “Get Out,” a psychological thriller that premiered in February and follows the experiences of a young black man who visits his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. The film, which /www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jordan-peele-get-out-rotten-tomatoes_us_58ae08dbe4b01406012f7905"}}" data-beacon-parsed="true">earned a 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes in its first 40 reviews, has been widely praised for exploring the reality of race in a unique and unprecedented way.
“The power of story and the power of a well-crafted film or television show is really all you need to speak to people,” Peele said in the interview. “I think Hollywood is sort of catching up to that. We’re at the beginning of a renaissance where people are realizing black films can not only work at the box office, but they can work because there’s been a void.”
This is precisely why he thinks “Get Out” was so successful: it flipped the usual narrative around horror films by featuring a black man as the protagonist and victim as opposed to a white woman. The film is now the highest-grossing debut for a writer-director based on an original screenplay, which was a record previously held by “The Blair Witch Project.”
“’Get Out’ is fresh and novel and new because at the base level it has a black, male protagonist in a horror movie,” he said. “We haven’t seen that before. Usually in horror movies — as in ‘Blair Witch’ — it is the white girl’s crying face.”
Peele said he’s giving up sketch comedy and instead plans to create an entire series of films that explore various “social demons.” For now, he said he is focused on nurturing his own voice and on writing, directing and producing. Fortunately for him, the opportunities now abound ― and he is inclined to take advantage of them and show the world what he’s got.
“There is a feeling of opportunity that is truly amazing. I’ve been in Hollywood for 14 years — 14 years of closed doors and the grind,” he said. “So to feel the energy coming from inside the industry, let alone from the country, is just one of the best feelings.”
Read more on Peele’s thoughts about black films, his opinion on slavery movies and how he felt turning down “SNL” at The Hollywood Reporter.