2017’s Get Out made him an Oscar winner, but the record-smashing Us has truly solidified Jordan Peele as Hollywood’s newest powerhouse filmmaker. Thankfully, the writer-director plans on using his newfound clout for good, and that includes putting the spotlight on his fellow black performers and creators.
Speaking to improv students at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in East Hollywood on Monday, Peele discussed the shift in power dynamics now that he’s a mega-success. While “being in the public eye” has made him susceptible to having anyone come up to him “an hour into dinner,” it also gives him the influence to staff his movies with underrepresented talent. “I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie,” he said (via The Hollywood Reporter). “Not that I don’t like white dudes, but I’ve seen that movie.”
He added, “The way I look at it, I get to cast black people in my movies. I feel fortunate to be in this position where I can say to Universal, ‘I want to make a $20 million horror movie with a black family.’ And they say yes.”
Peele will have plenty of opportunity to highlight black actors and actresses, as he has a number of productions in the works. His Monkeypaw Productions is currently casting a Candyman reboot, having recently tapped Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris for roles. There’s also his The Twilight Zone series at CBS All Access, which features a diverse group of name stars like Jessica Williams, Kumail Nanjiani, DeWanda Wise, Steven Yeun, John Cho, Sanaa Lathan, Greg Kinnear, Adam Scott, and Seth Rogen.