Hot off the release of his record-breaking new horror film Us, Jordan Peele made an appearance at East Hollywood’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre to discuss his growth as a director, and to drop gems about improv and sketch comedy.
“I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie,” Peele reportedly told the crowd of about 200. Two of the films he’s put out, Us and Get Out, have been led by black actors, and he intends to keep it that way for some time.
“Not that I don’t like white dudes,” he continued. “But I’ve seen that movie. 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.”
Peele also discussed how he wanted to be a director, and knew that it was his chosen career path since high school. He did not get into NYU, and then had second thoughts about his passion.
“The day I didn’t go to NYU, I said maybe [directing] wasn’t for me,” he explained. “I knew I had to leave. But it’s not a classically lucrative industry, so it’s not like I can recommend that black people get into it because it doesn’t pay.” Peele went to Sarah Lawrence College, but dropped out two years in to focus on the art of improv and sketch comedy.
Despite his original plan not working out exactly according to plan, Peele went on to win an Academy Award in 2018 (Best Original Screenplay for Get Out). He attests his skills as a director and writer to working with the right team.
“The more you are armed with what you take in, the more ammo you have,” he explained. “Directing for me is about hiring the right people, listening to them and helping them do the best job possible.”