Sundance Q&A: GET OUT’s Jordan Peele And Bradley Whitford

A great conversation following the first screening of GET OUT.

Jordan Peele’s Get Out is soon to hit general release, but it was the surprise midnight screening at Sundance that generated the most excitement for the film. From the first day of the festival this was the film that was being bandied about as playing in that slot (the other option seemed to be Logan, not such a bad guess given that a good 45+ minutes played at last December’s Butt-Numb-A-Thon at the Alamo South Lamar in Austin).

The screening was packed not only with the public but by many of the publicist, programmers and even staff from Sundance, as well as more than a few celebrities (Patton Oswalt stood up after the screening to announce he approval).

While Daniel Kaluuya and some of the other cast members were absent, Jordan was joined by scene-stealer Bradley Whitford for an enthusiastic Q&A. Here are a few of the highlights:

Jordan Peele on the idea of a post-racial society:

For me and for many people out there, black people know, there's racism. I experience it on an everyday basis. The party scene [in the film] is how we’ve experienced racism for a while. This movie was meant to reveal that there's this monster of racism lurking underneath seemingly innocent conversations and situations. It's been fascinating watching the last few years develop because now the movie is coming out in a very different America than it began. I think it's more important now and I think it's going to be far more interesting now. I really respect Universal for having the fuckin' balls to lean into this kind of shit because that's rare.

Bradley Whitford, and what draws him to stories like Get Out and Cabin in the Woods:

My attraction to this movie was my man [pointing to Jordan Peele]. I begged to do a background cross on Key and Peele. When I read scripts rarely is there a forehead knock. [I thought], Oh Jesus! Why hasn't this movie been made?! So it was not out of a particular attraction to the genre, it was Jordan and then Catherine Keener was in and Allison Williams and it was just an amazing cast. How great is Daniel Kaluuya?! Jesus Christ.

Peele on how he wanted the film to defy expectations:

It was very important for me for this movie not to be about a black guy going to the South and going to this Red State where the presumption is that everybody is racist there. This was really meant to take a stab at the Liberal Elite that tends to believe they're/we're above these things. I thought of Brad and Catherine’s [characters] as the perfect in-laws.

On whether Peele is expecting more love from Homeland Security the next time he flies:

Yes, I'm expecting TSA love for this! We did a sketch on Key and Peele where we were operatives in Al-Qaeda. We were huddled up in a cave and the whole bit was, like, "If only it wasn't for the brilliant TSA! And the regulations! I could bring a knife bigger than this, then we would have them!" So for a while there I would get up to the TSA line and somebody would go, "Hey brother, you better watch yourself now". So it was all good. But I talk about this with my wife all the time - Now I'm golden! And fuck it, Lil Rel Howery? That motherfucker can fly for free.

Peele on being nervous in front of a Sundance crowd with his debut film

If this was a comedy routine and I was coming down here I'd be so competent. I'd bust out my fuckin' impressions and shit. As a director, I feel like Woody Allen. I just feel so sheepish and confused and scared. Now I get it. Now I get why they're all squirmy, self-hating individuals. The thing is, as a filmmaker, it's so fucking humbling to get in here and to see, first of all, this massive group of talent and spirit and people who believe in me and taking this chance. Can you imagine Brad stepping into this role and then it goes completely wrong. If it goes wrong, it goes really fuckin' wrong. Yes it would. So the faith that you're given by these people that gave me everything, it's just so humbling and it's cool.