Not going to lie, this is an article I’ve been waiting to write for a while. After seeing Get Out on it’s opening weekend I was enamored with the film and was dying to hear writer/director Jordan Peele discuss every aspect of the film. Before we dig in I’d like to throw out my two cents about the film. It is hands down one of the best films of the year and is sure to become a staple in the horror genre. It’s so good I actually had to see it twice in theatres to pick up all the subtle bits of foreshadowing Peele placed in the story. As a story of race relations in the U.S. it’s searing and thought provoking. (Yes, this coming from a white guy who was born and raised in one of the whitest areas of America.) So without further ado, lets dig into some of the fantastic anecdotes Jordan Peele lays on the viewer.
-Subverting the Genre-
The cold opening of the film is loosely based around the 1978 horror classic Halloween. We’re shown the perfect white suburb, but this time the character is already uncomfortable in this environment.
-Who’s on the Other End of the Line?-
While it’s never confirmed in the film we find out that Andre is more than likely on the phone with Rose who is baiting the trap.
-Homages to the Classics-
Throughout the commentary Jordan Peele discusses he numerous horror film influences. The man knows the genre in and out. Point of fact here’s his thoughts on the car in the opening, “I sort of wanted this Porsche to be like Jaws. Like it has this music coming from it, it has this menace. And also pulling from Christine a little bit. Also Duel a little bit.”
-Setting Up the Lore-
The Knights Templar helmet Jeremy wears to abduct Andre is our first clue into the origins of the Red Alchemist Society. Peele postulates that this is the way the society channels the immortality of the Holy Grail through their techniques.
This is composer Michael Abels first film. He’s a classical composer who has worked in a wide variety of genres including: blues, jazz, and bluegrass. “I chose him because I really wanted the soundtrack here and the score to have this new different sound. Something we’ve never heard before.”
-The Main Musical Theme-
To quote the director himself this was the quality he was looking for in the composer and score, “If you could give me black voices with a sinister sound that’s not voodoo. Maybe something that sounds almost like a disembodied or satanic negro spiritual.”
-Picking Additional Songs-
The use of the Childish Gambino song “Redbone” was to signal to the audience that Chris is an intelligent and alert person who makes the right decisions. The scene was originally scored, but it apparently felt too heavy and needed something more chill.
-Foreshadowing: Part I-
The first time we see Chris he is putting shaving cream on his face. This was the audience’s first hint at what the 3rd act would entail for Chris.
-Foreshadowing: Part II-
Rose’s smile when she is selecting pastries in the opening is the same one that can be seen in the photos Chris later finds in her bedroom closet.
The entirety of the film was shot in Alabama. The apartment Chris and Rose have was filmed in Mobile and was suppose to give off the vibe of Brooklyn without being specific.
-Tough Parts of Filming-
Hiding the Rose reveal was the toughest part of the story. Jordan Peele wasn’t sure it would work. He commends the actress for making the reveal work so well “The character is as good an actor as she is.”
Jordan Peele’s first scene he shot as a director was the introduction of Rod. It was actually shot at a cruise ship terminal rather than an airport.
-Foreshadowing: Part III-
The close up shot of Chris stepping off the pavement into the woods was to show a transition in the story. Chris is going from the city (his comfort zone) into country (the wild).
-Foreshadowing: Part IV-
The scene where Rose is arguing with the cop about asking for Chris’ ID looks like her standing up for Chris on initial viewing, but it’s actually her covering her tracks. I picked up on this the second time I saw it and thought it was one of the most brilliant plant and pay offs in the film. It shows just how much of a sociopath Rose truly is.
When Chris meets Rose’s parent’s on the doorstep coverage was shot in spite of Peele knowing he wanted it to play out in a wide. He said he should’ve trusted his instincts instead of wasting part of a 23 day shooting schedule on footage he knew would never get used.
-Who to Satire?-
While multiple films have taken aim at the blue collar red state racism Peele wanted to dig deeper. He wanted take on the liberal elites and show racism knows no class boundaries even in 2017.
Of all the people in the Armitage family when Jeremy was younger he knew what the family was doing was wrong. In the end he was turned into a monster because of the corruption from his family’s influence.
-The Hypnosis Scene-
Peele states that this is his favorite scene in the film. He wanted the Chris/Missy dynamic to be similar to the Clarice/Lecter conversations from Silence of the Lambs. He also wanted Chris to keep his composure and be resistant and grounded to the hypnosis.
-The Sunken Place-
We get a lot of great details about The Sunken Place. The basis comes from the feeling of falling you sometimes have before falling asleep. “Well what if you never caught yourself? Where would you fall. What would you go into?” The Sunken Place is a construct of Chris’ mind and worst fear, sitting alone powerless watching television. And The Sunken Place could potentially be different for every victim. “It’s a state of mind that is created by your own brain based on Missy latching onto your deepest fear or darkest moment.”
-The Party Scene-
The party scenes were the most difficult to film. The larger number of people made it harder to shoot. Peele wanted to give the partygoers an international flavor to show the scope of the Red Alchemist Society’s size.
-The Blind Art Dealer-
At one point it was discussed whether or not such an idea for a character would be too over the top. But in the end it’s just over the top enough. It also gives the audience the feeling that Chris may have found an ally.
The scene where Chris goes upstairs and the party guests go silent staring at the ceiling is based off a dream Jordan Peele once had.
-The Phone Issue-
Instead of the cliche, “There is no cell phone service” plot point Peele wanted to deal with it in a more believable way. Having Georgina constantly unplug it to kill the battery makes more sense.
While he doesn’t have an acting role in the film Peele did provide the voice on the opposite end of the phone during the Chris/Rod conversations during filming. “That’s one of the advantages to being a sketch performer. As a director you can do half assed versions of these characters.”
-Another Comedian’s In-Law-
It turns out that actor Yasuhiko Oyama is the father in-law of Ken Marino (Best known from Wet Hot American Summer, Party Down, and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster).
The auction scene was deliberately vague as to how/what the bidders are placing. Peele hypothesizes that since the Red Alchemists are descended from the Knights Templar each card represents different artifacts the group has amassed that are up for trade.
-Rod to the Rescue-
Once “all is lost” for Chris the audience’s only hope is Rod. He becomes the Dick Halloran (Scatman Crothers from The Shining) or Buster (Richard Farnsworth from Misery) to the story. Thankfully unlike the other two Rod survives.
-Alternate Music Choice-
When Chris wakes up restrained in the rec room originally James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend” was going to be playing on a continuous loop. It turned out the licensing fees for the song were too high so they went with the video of Rose’s grandfather explaining the procedure.
-The “Real” Reason Jordan Peele Made the Film-
Peele jokingly states that he made Get Out to curry favor with TSA so he’d get great treatment at airports.
It was originally going to be that the person who’s body is being taken over were going to die. The idea of them being forced to live on while someone else controls their body was tantamount to modern slavery and far more horrifying.
-The Sophomore Slump-
Peele knows that he’s going to have trouble trying to follow-up Get Out. He asks the audience to, “give him a little rope” to make a worse film.
It was intentional that picking cotton from the arm rest cushion was the thing that would end up saving Chris from slavery.
The ceremonial box that contained Dean’s surgical tools was in fact a box used to hold poker chips.
-Exploring the Mythology-
With the extensive amount of mythology surrounding the Red Alchemists Jordan Peele promises he’ll divulge more about them down the line. I guess that means I’ll be buying the special edition blu-ray when it comes out.
While the car in the beginning was likened to Duel there is another homage to Spielberg. The reveal of Georgina’s scar in the car was influenced by the reveal of the velociraptor’s ability to open doors in Jurassic Park.
-An NC-17 Rating?-
Peele states that he assumes if a movie had been made ten years ago where at the end a black man is choking a white woman to death and the audience being on his side it would’ve gotten an NC-17 rating. I can’t say he’s wrong about that.
-The Main Song-
The song in Swahili is translated to, “Trust Your Ancestors”.
These are just a handful of interesting tid bits Jordan Peele revealed in this track. And I have to say, this is one of the best tracks I’ve listened to in a long time. While we get a lot behind the scenes information it’s fantastic hearing him discuss the mythology of the story. I can not recommend it enough. I can not wait to see where Jordan Peele goes as a director from this fantastic directorial debut. As usual, what are your thoughts? Did you like Get Out? Are you going to pick up the blu-ray? If you do, do check out the alternate ending. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter @sdfilmthoughts and as always thank you so much for reading.