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Jordan Peele on the Challenge of Making ‘Nope’ and ‘Wendell & Wild’ During COVID, and Can Audiences Expect a ‘Key & Peele’ Reboot?

Variety's Awards Circuit Podcast: Also on this episode, breakout “Triangle of Sadness" star Dolly de Leon.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 19: Jordan Peele attends the premiere of Amazon Prime Video's "Hunters" at DGA Theater on February 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
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Jordan Peele is looking to push boundaries as a writer, director and producer every time he creates something new. “I’m going to keep trying to come up with original stories, and meet the expectations the audience has for me,” Peele says. “I hope to continue to lift original filmmakers up.”

On this episode of the award-winning Variety Awards Circuit Podcast, we sit down with Academy Award winner Peele to discuss his two feature film projects in the awards conversation: the sci-fi horror film “Nope,” which he wrote and directed, and the animated feature “Wendell & Wild,” which he voiced, co-wrote and produced.

Also on the episode, he talks about his long friendship and collaboration with Keegan-Michael Key, and whether fans might ever see the comedy duo reboot their beloved Comedy Central and Emmy-winning sketch series “Key & Peele.”

Listen below:

Peele walks into this awards season with two very different projects.

Over the summer he reunited with his “Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya on the sci-fi horror flick “Nope” from Universal Pictures, which grossed over $170 million worldwide. Filming during a global pandemic challenged Peele in ways he could never imagine. “There’s a meta-aspect about putting yourself in the craziest situation, to try and get that impossible shot in order to make something special,” he says.

The other contender is the animated feature “Wendell & Wild,” from legendary Oscar-nominated director Henry Selick (“Coraline”). Selick pitched the project seven years ago; Peele signed on as a voice actor, co-writer and producer. Peele had long been a fan of Selick’s since his stunning debut “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1994), which became the first animated film to be nominated for visual effects.

“Wendell & Wild” isn’t trying to be cutesy or undermine children’s intellectual capacities. “When I was growing up movies took kids a little bit more seriously, in some ways than they are treated now,” Peele says.

Peele has already landed in the cimedia history books. He became the first Black person ever nominated by the Academy Awards for best picture, director and original screenplay — with his horror film debut “Get Out” (2017). He won the screenplay prize, becoming the first African-American ever to win the category.

The next year, he garnered another Oscar nom for Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” (2018), becoming the first Black producer to be nominated twice. Lee won his first statuette for adapted screenplay.

Later in this episode, Variety’s Jazz Tangcay chats with Filipina actor Dolly de Leon about her breakout role in the award-winning film “Triangle of Sadness.” The film, from Ruben Östlund, was a sensation at the Cannes film festival, where it won the Palme D’or.

Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, who also co-hosts with Clayton Davis, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post weekly.