Jordan Peele discusses the scope and imagery of Us

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

Us Jordan Peele Lupita Nyong'o

Last week, Entertainment Weekly got their hands on a couple images from GET OUT writer/director Jordan Peele's new film US, and I was concerned one of them might be a spoiler. It was a creepy shot of four people dressed in red, holding hands and standing outside in the dark – and two of them were pretty clearly Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke, who play the lead protagonists in the movie. They weren't looking like a heroine and hero in that shot, though.

When the trailer was released on Christmas, we got confirmation that the shot wasn't a spoiler because the concept of US is that Nyong'o and Duke are attacked by homicidal doppelgängers. The pair (and the actors who play the children of their characters) have dual roles in the film and have to fight twisted versions of themselves.

Co-starring Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon, and Madison Curry, US is

set in the present day and follows Adelaide and Gabe Wilson (Nyong’o and Duke) as they take their kids to Adelaide’s old childhood beachside home in Northern California for the summer. After a day at the beach with the Tyler family (including Moss and Heidecker), Adelaide — who’s haunted by a lingering trauma from her past — becomes increasingly more paranoid that something bad will happen to her family. As night falls, the Wilsons see four figures holding hands and standing silently at the bottom of their driveway…

After the release of the trailer, Peele took some time to speak with Entertainment Weekly about the imagery in it, the scope of the story, and the monsters he has created for this film. Things called The Tethered.

I think the main idea that went into writing this film is that we’re our own worst enemy, and that idea created this monster, The Tethered. I wanted to forge this new mythology that explored our duality and the duality of the characters. To the actors, I knew this was the ultimate fun because who doesn’t want to play two roles in a movie; when you’re tired in one, you get to jump into the other. But I think what was a fun challenge for actors, was finding the connections between the characters and their counterparts."

When asked about the imagery of scissors and rabbits featured in the trailer and on the poster, Peele replied, 

I’m a filmmaker and film-lover that loves iconic imagery and what it could mean. When we talk about the scissors and the rabbits, for every choice like that, there are several different reasons that clicked to me but the first test that anything passed was the genre test. So does it conjure the horror genre to me, which is a limitation that I feel very dedicated to working within. I think rabbits and scissors, they’re both scary things to me, and both inane things, so I love subverting and bringing out the scariness in things you wouldn’t necessarily associate with that."

While the trailer at first seemed to be setting up a contained home invasion story, it then leaves the Wilson home to show action taking place in the surrounding areas, continuing through the night and into the daytime. Some of the shots even make it feel like something apocalyptic could be going on. Peele wouldn't say exactly how far the destruction spans over the course of the story, but 

…I definitely wanted to do a movie that started with this sense of invasion, this sense of the fear of other, the fear of the stranger from outside, which I think is a common fear in society these days, and then sort of force the characters to realize the invaders have their faces. I didn’t want to make just a home invasion, though I utilized that imagery. I wanted the sense of an adventure that was not necessarily a claustrophobic one — that’s a feeling that turns me off watching. I wanted to make this expansive, I wanted it to have themes of night and day."

US looks like a blast to me, so I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's released on March 15, 2019.

Peele produced the film alongside Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, and Ian Cooper, with Daniel Lupi serving as executive producer.


About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.