From the mind of Jordan Peele – the first African-American writer/director to cross $100 million at the box office with his debut film – Get Out will come to home entertainment a little later this month. Telling the story of young African-American male Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his young, white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams), the pair go to Rose’s upstate family home for a weekend getaway. As things progress however, a series of disturbing discoveries lead him to find out some dangerous truths.
As one of the best-reviewed films of the year so far, Get Out is without a doubt a major success. We got the chance to put some questions to the film’s producer, Jason Blum to find out how he first heard the idea, how he’d best describe the flick and more…
When you first talked to writer-director Jordan Peele, what grabbed you about his story?
I was first introduced to Get Out when an executive working for another company read the script and his boss wouldn’t make the movie. He loved it so he called me and said, ‘I am really disappointed that my company won’t make this but if you will, it will make me feel a lot better.’ So I read the script that night. The executive no longer works for the other company. He works for us now! The script was Get Out. I read it and loved it. I had never read anything like it. I had never conceived the notion of a genre movie being about race. I was just very, very compelled by the whole thing. I met Jordan a couple of days later and we greenlit the movie.
Horror films have a rich tradition of dealing with social issues in amongst their tropes. Could you tell us how Get Out follows that tradition?
There’s a rich tradition from long ago but I think for me in the modern day, it really started with John Carpenter. He did it incredibly well and I feel like James DeMonaco who did The Purge movies was looking a lot at John Carpenter movies. The Purge was a movie about America’s very unique relationship with guns and I feel like The Purge really laid the groundwork for Get Out. And Get Out took the notion of an issue-driven genre movie one step further; the issue is so much more prevalent in Get Out. But it does follow a long line of social issues in genre movies and we hope to make a lot more of them.
Were you surprised that this particular issue, race, hasn’t been dealt with in horror movies before?
I was surprised to read a genre movie about race because that had never even occurred to me. Not only had I never seen a genre movie about race but the idea of making one about race had never occurred to me until I read the script. So I was very happy but it certainly had never occurred to me that it could even be done.
You have had great success with small budget films doing massive box office but are you surprised that the takings for Get Out have been so great?
One of the fun things about being a producer is that no matter how many times you do it, or how much success we have had as a company, when a movie is as successful as Get Out or Split, you are always surprised. We had positive expectations for Split, and the opening weekend of Split was a very good weekend but it wasn’t record-breaking; it wasn’t incredible. When we knew it was a hit was when in the second weekend the movie dropped by a very, very little amount. It dropped about 20% and most of our movies drop by 50%. So that weekend we knew that we had really touched a nerve in a very serious way. It was a wonderful weekend and it is a magical feeling that is impossible to recreate.
As someone so steeped in this genre, how do you describe Get Out; is it a thriller, psychological thriller, a psychological horror?
For me, Get Out is a thriller. My favourite filmmaker is Hitchcock and one of the tasks that I have always given my executives in the company is to ask them, ‘If Hitchcock were alive today, what would he make?’ I feel Get Out is a great example of what he would do, so it’s a Hitchcockian thriller.
How important is it when making a horror film that it has a good standalone story even before the supernatural elements come in? You need the audience to care about the characters, the dynamics…
I think the key to good thrillers and good scary movies is what comes in between the scares, in between the thrills, and that is the storytelling. The storytelling, the acting, and the story all have to be super compelling, and if they are not compelling the scares don’t work. You can have the best scare in the world but if you are not psychologically involved in what the characters are going through, leading up to that scare, the scare won’t work. So for me by far the most important part of a thriller or a horror movie is the story.
You have a great cast and I especially liked seeing Catherine Keener because Get Out has a passing similarity to Being John Malkovich in one of its underlying plot points…
Right. It was great when Catherine Keener came on. I wrote Catherine a long letter via email. I said how much of an admirer I was and we had met very briefly. We didn’t really know each other but I asked if she would read the script. And she did and committed right away and we were very proud and lucky to have her. She does a great job in the movie.
Is there anything that you would like to include as an extra on the home entertainment release?
We had an alternate ending for the movie. That was the first ending that we shot and I hope that goes on the home entertainment release. I think some people, especially in the UK, might like that ending a little better…
Can we expect a lot more from Jordan Peele?
We can expect an enormous amount more from Jordan Peele. He has just signed a big deal with Universal so his company is set up at Universal. We are going on to partner on a bunch of low budget movies. He will also make a bigger budget movie, and maybe we will do that together, too.
Get Out is available now on digital download and comes to Blu-ray, DVD and on-demand from Monday, July 24, 2017.