One of the funniest comedians out there, Jordan Peele, ended up redefining the horror genre with his debut film Get Out in 2017. His scathing commentary on racism in America catapulted him to fame, making him one of the most exciting filmmakers to watch out for. What makes his filmmaking even more exciting is his determination to change the racial narrative in Hollywood.
And he’s not doing it alone. Representation matters behind the screens as well as on it. The success of films like Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther at the box office also proves that there is a huge market out there for it.
“I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie. Not that I don’t like white dudes, but I’ve seen that movie,” Peele said to students at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre while speaking on representation.
“The way I look at it, I get to cast black people in my movies. I feel fortunate to be in this position where I can say to Universal, ‘I want to make a $20 million horror movie with a black family.’ And they say yes,” Peele added.
His second film Us, which released this month, has become a critically acclaimed commercial hit already. Similar to Get Out, Us also deals with racism and privilege, even though it’s more of an out-and-out horror story. Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman was also produced by Peele, and it won an Oscar for Best Screenplay and the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.
Speaking of the success of black filmmakers in Hollywood, Peele said, “It really is one of the best, greatest pieces of this story, is feeling like we are in this time – a renaissance has happened and proved the myths about representation in the industry are false.”