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Jordan Peele has one of the most diverse resumes in all of Hollywood. Few people can claim to have been half of one of the funniest comedy duos in Hollywood, directed two critically-acclaimed psychological thrillers, and voiced a stuffed bunny in his downtime. His career seems to have been decided by putting a bunch of film-related words in a Scrabble bag and see what comes out. Peele is one of the most recognizable names in showbiz today and it’s not hard to see why.
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#1- He’s a New Yorker born and raised.
Jordan Peele spent the majority of his early life in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He didn’t go far for college as he went to Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers. In college, he met Rebecca Drysdale, a future Key and Peele writer, who he later dropped out with to form a comedy duo.
#2- He had dreams of… puppeteering?
Kids, if your parents ever tell you to find a more practical college major, tell them famed Oscar-winning director Jordan Peele majored in puppeteering. An incredibly lucrative career choice, this might have been a precursor to Peele’s work in voice acting.
#3- Jordan Peele had a bit of an unconventional wedding.
Peele married Brooklyn 99 actress Chelsea Peretti in 2016 making them one of comedy’s greatest power couples. The two of them had a quiet elopement and a dog in a Hawaiian shirt served as their witness, keeping the occasion super classy.
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#4- He met Keegan Michael Key on another TV show.
Possibly the best comedy duo of modern-day, Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele starred in Key and Peele for three seasons on Comedy Central. However, this was not the first time the two comedy geniuses acted together. They first met when they were both acting on MADtv.
#5- He won an Emmy for his MADtv song Sad 50 Cent.
Jordan Peele is a renaissance man no matter what way you look at it. Nothing proves that more than the fact that he showed off his songwriting chops on MADtv and won an Emmy for it. The song was a parody of 50 Cent and Kanye West’s rivalry.
#6- Jordan Peele auditioned for SNL.
Peele gained attention because of his impressions on MADtv. This gave him the confidence to audition for SNL. But unfortunately, he was passed up. He had quit MADtv to audition and he calls this, “the biggest blow to [his] career.”
#7- Key and Peele fans should listen up while watching animated shows and movies.
While Key and Peele is no longer on the air, fans should pay attention while watching animated shows and movies. The duo made a guest appearance in the popular animated show Rick and Morty as Fourth-dimensional beings. They also voiced hyenas in 2019’s The Lion King and Ducky and Bunny in Toy Story 4. They always stand out as the voices of the funniest characters in already funny works.
#8- Key and Peele have an animated movie coming out in 2021 called Wendell and Wild.
For the most part, Key and Peele have only voiced supporting roles in movies and TV shows. But in 2021, the comedy duo will take centerstage again in Wendell and Wild. Not much is known about the plot but based on the movie’s IMDb profile, it’s about two demonic teens fighting against goth kids.
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#9- Key and Peele got the attention of former President Obama.
The recurring segment in which Peele played Obama and Key played his anger translator was so on point, Obama hired Key to make an appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
#10- Jordan Peele is a recurring cast member in Big Mouth
In Big Mouth, Peele gets the opportunity to show off his skills with impressions of dead celebrities. He voices the ghost of Duke Ellington and a smattering of other ghosts of dead celebrities including a chillingly on-point impression of Queen singer Freddie Mercury in the Queen tribute song When You’re Gay.
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We all know The Emoji Movie, right. The brilliant piece of cinematic artistry that lightly suggested that reading and actually communicating is lame and it’s way cooler to interpret tiny images of high fiving hands and ice cream, that little piece of filmic brilliance. Well, Peele was offered the role of the Poop Emoji. After politely declining the role he decided to take a break from acting and focus more on directing. While he has played a few scattered roles here and there since then, his main focus has been directing.
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#12- He’s always loved horror movies.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise given his two critically acclaimed thrillers, but Peele has always loved the horror genre. Eagle-eyed+ fans can see references to classic horror movies in his films. In Get Out, there’s a reference to The Shining when Andre says, “I feel like I’m in a hedge maze out here.” Two of the VHS tapes at the beginning of Us are Nightmare on Elm Street and C.H.U.D.
#13- Daniel Kaluuya moved Peele to tears during the filming of Get Out.
Peele knew he had struck gold when he cast Kaluuya as Chris. When they filmed a pivotal scene in the movie in which Chris cries, they filmed five takes. Peele said every take was perfect and he was moved to tears by Kaluuya’s performance.
#14- The idea for Get Out was inspired by an Eddie Murphy stand up performance.
The seeds for what eventually became Get Out occurred to Peele while he was watching Murphy’s stand up special Delirious. During the special, Murphy jokes about classic horror films and asks why white people never leave when there’s a ghost in the house.
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#15- Jordan Peele is no sell out!
When Universal Pictures asked Peele if he was willing to do a sequel for Get Out, he said he was open to it but would only do it if a really good idea for a sequel comes up. He doesn’t want it to be a cash grab.
#16- The theme music for Get Out is sung entirely in Swahili except for one word: brother.
Composer Michael Abeis said this was because he felt the term “brother” is a universal expression amongst black people that didn’t need to be translated.
#17- Why was Allison Williams casted in Get Out?
Peele says Williams reminded him of, “someone you knew and had a crush on when you met her at summer camp.” A man can easily be attracted to this trait in a woman without seeing who she really is
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#18- After the success of Get Out, Peele started a new class at UCLA
The class was called “Sunken Place: Racism, Survival, and the Black Horror Aesthetic.” The class was taught by UCLA’s Professor Tananarive Due. Little did the class know, Peele sat in the back row of the class. You can imagine students’ surprise when Professor Due asked a question about Get Out and the director of the film raised his hand.
#19- The “post-racial world” touted by certain people after Obama was elected solidified the idea for Get Out.
Peele thought people suppressed the discussion of racism after Obama took office. “We’re good, we have a black president, racism is over.” Peele didn’t see things that way and this solidified the idea in his head for Get Out.
#20- Jordan Peele was the first black person to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Although it was a long and hard road towards getting that Oscar. He almost gave up while writing the script several times.
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Ever the horror fan, Peele gave the cast of Us a welcome present on the first day of shooting, a rather nightmare-inducing care package. Peele presented them each with a copy of these eleven movies: Jaws, Dead Again, It Follows, The Shining, The Birds, The Babadook, Let the Right One In, Martyrs, Tale of Two Sisters, Funny Games, and The Sixth Sense.
#22- Look closely for the Get Out Easter Egg in Us.
The words “Get Out” are scratched onto the side of the entrance of the hall of mirrors.
#23- He’s not a sell-out but Us made enough money in case he wants to be.
The opening weekend of Peele’s second foray into thrillers grossed $71 million, the highest amount of money any original horror movie has made on opening weekend. The film also just barely missed the record for the highest-grossing original live-action film in opening weekend: Avatar beat it by just $6 million.
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#24- The movie playing on the VHS at the beginning of Us is representative of Us’s main theme.
The theme of duality runs throughout Us. Peele clues the audience in on this from the beginning of the film. The VHS tape at the beginning of the movie is playing the 1983 film The Man with Two Brains.
#25- In fact, Jordan Peele screamed at the audience the theme of duality if they looked closely enough.
There is another reference to the theme of duality in Us for eagle-eyed viewers and it’s in Wilson’s toy closet. There you will find the board game Guess Who where players must match an identical face card to one on the other player’s board.
#26- The number 11 appears a lot in Us
The Bible verse Jeremiah 11:11 appears on a sign at the amusement park Adelaide encountered her doppelganger in as a child. When Gabe watches a baseball game, the announcer says, “We’re tied at 11:11.” Jason points to a clock in Adelaide’s bedroom at 11:11. According to Peele, the number represents two things tethered together creating a whole.
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#27- The appearance of rabbits on multiple occasions in Us is a tie back to the opening song in Get Out
In the opening scene of Get Out, the song “Run Rabbit Run’ plays. Rabbits are becoming a recurring theme throughout Peele’s movies as they are also a recurrent theme throughout Us.
#28- The ambulance motif fan theory.
There’s a motif of ambulances throughout Us which some fans hoped was a nod to Peele’s first big screen role as an EMT worker in the movie Little Fockers in 2010. Unfortunately, Peele has denied this saying it was just a coincidence.
#29- The idea for Us came to Peele while he was studying in Upstate New York.
He took the midnight train and once he got off, he was left in a tunnel. He imagined a duplicate of himself staring back at him.
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#30- Sometimes, people suck.
As was the case when Peele drew ire from predominantly white fans for saying he only casts black actors as the leads in his movies. And the entire black community collectively facepalmed. To people who believe white people deserve a shot at being the lead in a Jordan Peele movie, think hard for a second. What was the last movie you saw without at least one white character? Now think of the number of classic movies you can name without a single black character. The correct answer is about 90% of them.
#31- He loves improvised weapons.
When asked what he would do if his doppelganger approached him, Peele said he would take an Evian water bottle and beat the ever-loving crap out of his look-alike. This is because his favorite trope in horror movies is improvised weapons.
#32- Jordan Peele has several projects in the works.
They are all going to be created by his production company, Monkeypaw Productions. They include four upcoming projects for Network TV and another untitled project for Amazon Studios.
We, at Hollywood Insider, look forward to a Jordan Peele movie collection. We are huge fans of your work Jordan. We wish you the best of luck and we know that you are going to continue being one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. Black Lives Matter. Black Talent Matters. Black Artists Matter.
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An excerpt from the love letter: Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”
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