With “Thor: Love and Thunder” now in theaters, the next big Hollywood tentpole this summer movie season is Jordan Peele’s “Nope.” The Universal release reunites the Oscar winner with “Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya in the story of two siblings (Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) who set out to record video evidence of a UFO. While Peele has become a household name as a director because of the horror genre, he recently told Essence magazine that “Nope” had to be more than just “Black horror” in order to speak to the times.
“It’s so tricky being considered in the vanguard of Black horror, because obviously Black horror is so very real, and it’s hard to do it in a way that’s not re-traumatizing and sad,” Peele said. “I was going into my third horror film starring Black leads, and somewhere in the process I realized that the movie had to be about Black joy as well, in order to fit what the world needs at this moment. So that is part of why there’s sort of a spectrum of tonality of genre in here, because I wanted to give the horror, but I also wanted to give our characters agency and adventure and hope and joy and fun that they deserve.”
Peele pitched Kaluuya on “Nope” by billing it as “a great American UFO horror movie that I haven’t seen,” adding, “I think one of the things we have with this film is a movie that transcends the horror genre, in a way. The first film clip [Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion] was essentially a Black man on a horse who has been forgotten and erased. Part of this film, to me, is a celebration and a response to that. We can be the leads not only of a horror movie but also action, adventure, comedy, etc.”
Kaluuya told Essence that Peele is once again “expanding” the horror genre with “Nope.” In this film, Peele is giving the genre “scale and epic-ness.”
“I love pushing the envelope,” Kaluuya said. “We’re in a creative industry, but people will sometimes handle this like they’re working at the bank. It’s nuts to me. Let’s go — let’s create. I don’t like hearing, ‘Oh, I’ve never seen that before.’ That’s the point. That’s why people watch films. So it was amazing to be in the center of something that I used to love watching as a kid as well.”
“Nope” opens in theaters nationwide on July 22.