When Jordan Peele started writing "Get Out" he had no idea that it would be the hit movie that it is today. In fact, the writer-director says he wasn't even sure that the idea would make it to the big screen.
"I didn't know it was ever going to get made," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I would watch this movie in my head, this movie that I wish somebody would write for me to watch and that was it."
He tells W Magazine that the idea for the script came during the 2008 primaries when he was watching Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama compete for the Democratic nomination.
"It had me looking at race and gender in terms of one another," he said. "The way some of my favorite movies — "The Stepford Wives, "Rosemary's Baby"— had dealt with gender was inspiring to me, and I felt like it was time that there was a movie that dealt with race in a similar way."
Peele reveals that he worked on the outline and story idea for about five years, around the same time his comedy series "Key and Peele" was airing on Comedy Central. During a meeting with Sean McKittrick at QC Entertainment in the summer of 2013 he mentioned the movie idea, but still with no intention of it getting picked up.
"I wasn't there to sell this movie, and I certainly wasn't thinking of directing it," Peele tells Deadline. "But I thought it was a great conversation starter. I said, 'Here's a movie I've never seen before, that no one is ever going to make.'"
After hearing the story idea McKittrick agreed to buy it on the spot. At the time, Peele said he hadn't even finished the script and had no idea who would direct it. But halfway through the writing process, he realized that no one could lead the film in the way it needed to be led but him.
"I can't trust this with anyone else," he tells Deadline. "I realized I knew what every moment looks and feels like, and that this movie had no wiggle room with tone or character. I went back to Sean and said, 'Look, I need to direct that.'
In late 2015 lead actors Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams signed on to star in the project.
Kaluuya, whose character Chris is at the center of the film as a black man who meets his white girlfriend's family for the first time, says that even he was surprised the film was getting made.
After reading the script, he tells Vulture that he asked Peele, "Are you allowed to say this? Are we gonna get in trouble?"
In February 2016 the cast and crew started shooting the film in Los Angeles before moving to Fairhope, Alabama shortly thereafter. They completed the film in 23 days on a $4.5 million budget. The film, which was released in February 2017, made $33.4 million opening weekend and solidified Peele as a director to watch, despite the "social horror-thriller" being the first film he directed.
Worldwide, "Get Out" has grossed more than $252 million, making it the most profitable movie of 2017.
The film has also set Peele down a historic path as only the third person to earn Oscar nominations for a directorial debut in the categories of best picture, directing and original screenplay. He is also the fifth African-American to earn a best director nomination in Oscar history. So far, no African-American director has won the category.
Peele says the success of "Get Out" gave him the confidence he needed to continue directing films.
"I wrote 'Get Out' not necessarily as something to get made," he tells Entertainment Weekly. "I wrote it more as something that would be fun to write and something that would help me get better as an artist. So there was no deadline that I was giving myself. Now that I know that this kind of movie works, I can give it more purpose. Like, I know that I can get it made, so let's move forward with that goal in mind, instead of it being this ongoing project that who knows if anyone will ever see it."
While he's been silent on the details of his next film, he does plan to stay within the horror genre.
"I'm writing it now, an idea I've had for a while," he says. "I'm pretty obsessed with this social thriller/horror genre."
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