No: 10 Little-known facts about screenwriter and director Jordan Peele


A Nope behind-the-scenes featurette was recently revealed exclusively to Screen Rant in anticipation of the movie’s release and fans are ecstatic. Former comedian Jordan Peele was perhaps the most impactful filmmaker to debut in the 2010s, releasing the racism-themed horror film Get Out in 2017 to rapturous acclaim and igniting a cultural conversation that cinema is only able to foster at its most effective.

Nope is his third project and is a Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer-helmed thriller expected to challenge and entertain to the far extent that Peele has proven himself capable of reaching. Those anticipating the film’s July 22 release date may prepare themselves by reading a few biographical details about the esteemed filmmaker.

The Relationship In Get Out Is Loosely Based On One From His Past

Like many artists, Peele has incorporated his own lived experiences into his work as a means of communicating his worldview to audiences.

Related: Get Out & 9 Other Unforgettable Directorial Debuts

In a 2017 interview with The New York Times, Peele acknowledged that the anxiety of the Black protagonist in Get Out pertaining to meeting his white girlfriend’s parents was lifted from one of his own past relationships, saying, “I remember specifically asking if the parents knew I was Black. She said no. That scared me. It turned out to be totally fine, but I didn’t want to even see an adjustment on someone’s face when they realized it’s not what they thought.”

He Produced Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman

In an era in which filmmakers of color were rarely allowed the opportunity to garner mainstream success, Spike Lee provided a countercultural perspective to Hollywood with projects that spoke to marginalized groups. Jordan Peele, who would serve a similar role decades after Lee’s debut, was able to collaborate with the influence to whom he was indebted by serving as a producer for Lee’s BlacKkKlansman in 2018 (per The Independent.)

In addition to Get Out and Peele’s sophomore effort, Us, BlacKkKlansman communicated the finer details of the Black experience to general audiences of the 2010s and became the highest-ranked crime movie of 2018, according to IMDb.

He Turned Down The Opportunity To Direct Superhero Films

The phenomenal success of Get Out established Peele as a Hollywood titan, rendering him one of the most sought-after filmmakers in the industry.

The Guardian reports that executives asked the writer/director to helm superhero films following the success of his debut project, but that Peele rejected the offers in order to focus on original screenplays free of established intellectual property (some still believe that he should direct a superhero movie.) Peele’s commitment to his own creative independence is a hallmark of committed auteurs, and it suggests that he is unlikely to change this stance for the sake of profit.

He Was The First Black Person To Win The Academy Award For Best Original Screenplay

Despite his years of performance experience, Peele’s most impressive talent is likely his ability to write thought-provoking and complex narratives that are palatable to mainstream audiences.

His demonstration of this skill with Get Out garnered him the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, rendering him the first Black writer to receive the honor. Peele’s efforts to diversify Hollywood’s offerings and appeal to audiences who have rarely been catered to have rewarded him with a degree of respect that is rarely attained by filmmakers of any background.

His Favorite Films Include The Stepford Wives, Jaws, & The Shining

Peele grew up as a popular culture obsessive and likely gleaned his filmmaking expertise from the venerated auteurs whom he was inspired by.

In a 2019 NPR interview for the program All Things Considered, the director cited The Stepford Wives, Jaws, and The Shining as films that contained the elements that make a horror movie great and consequently generated his appreciation for the genre. Peele explained the draw of such films’ settings, saying, “when you have something idyllic and beautiful and sort of perfect, that’s where true horror lies.”

He Is Afraid Of Doppelgangers

Peele’s 2019 film Us, which focuses on the chilling tension between a standard American family and its members’ respective doppelgangers, was derived from Peele’s own fear of the classic narrative trope.

Related: 10 Behind The Scenes Facts About The Making Of Us

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the director elaborated on his long-standing aversion to doppelgangers in a special feature from the film’s Blu-ray release, saying, “Throughout mythology doppelgangers often represent bad omens or a foreshadowing of one’s death, so I just wanted to pinpoint and work off of that extremely primal fear.” Peele’s ability to communicate his emotions and perspectives to diverse audiences has secured his high standing in the entertainment industry.

He Was Interviewed By Paul Thomas Anderson

Peele has been warmly embraced by most of his more experienced peers, one of whom being Licorice Pizza writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. According to Entertainment Weekly, Anderson interviewed the Nope auteur for the cover of the magazine Fangoria shortly before Us was released in 2019.

Related: Every Paul Thomas Anderson Movie Ranked By Metacritic

Writers and directors who study the work of other artists are more likely to replicate the success of cinematic classics, and Peele’s admiration for Anderson suggests that his triumphs are partly owed to such respect for films that precede his own.

He And Kerry Washington Trained At The Same Theater Company

Unlike most directors, Peele began his career in entertainment as a performer, only transitioning to work behind the camera in the past decade. He first performed as an adolescent in New York City, joining an organization called Tada! Youth Theater.

According to Vanity Fair, Kerry Washington — another Black entertainer who similarly broke racial barriers in the 2010s by starring in the enormously popular political series Scandal as a fan-favorite character — also began her career in entertainment at Tada!. Peele and Washington’s shared passion for the arts developed early and likely proved fruitful as a result.

He Thought Up Get Out During The 2008 Democratic Primaries

Vulture reports that Peele first ideated a horror film pertaining to racism during Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s contest for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Peele explained that the intersection of the women’s movement and the civil rights movement stimulated his thought, saying, “Racism and sexism were seen as two parallel problems. So I thought if you could make a movie as entertaining as Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives, which have what should be an equally offensive notion — that men are going to conspire against women — you could do it with race.”

He Initially Considered Studying Puppeteering In College

Upon enrolling at Sarah Lawrence College as a young adult, Peele reportedly planned to study puppeteering before opting for improvisational comedy (per Vox).

Such an unconventional interest is evidence of the filmmaker’s abundant curiosity and openness to experience, traits that would later be responsible for the originality and creative flair of Key & Peele, Get Out, and Us. Peele’s fearless embrace of experimentation — which he has evidently practiced since adolescence — distinguishes him as a premier artist and is responsible for the vast audiences that his films attract.