Few could have anticipated the directorial genius that emerged from the comedy sketch duo Key and Peele. Even fewer would believe that The Emoji Movie was a contributing factor in the creation of the Jordan Peele movies.
From his marriage to Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Chelesa Peretti to his success as a comedian and now his acclaim as a horror movie producer, Jordan Peele has done some incredible things in Hollywood. Let’s take a look at his career and how it led him to his current success.
Jordan Peele’s Path to Becoming a Director
Before making his iconic Jordan Peele movies, Peele got his start with Boom Chicago, a creative group that performs improvisational comedy based in Amsterdam. In 2003, he joined Mad TV during the ninth season. Around the same time, Keegan-Michael Key joined the cast as well. Many assumed Key would get chosen over Peele, but due to their incredible on-screen chemistry, they both stayed on the show. Peele was best known for his celebrity impressions.
He had a couple viral sketches, appeared in Little Fockers, and auditioned for SNL, but was ultimately never chosen.
While both stars worked on other projects, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele teamed up to create their own Comedy Central sketch series. Key & Peele ran from 2012 to 2015 and was successful on the network and also on YouTube and social media.
Peele then produced and wrote his first comedy Keanu (2016). He starred in the movie alongside Key to generally positive reviews. While you could consider this the first of the Jordan Peele movies, he didn’t direct it.
Jordan Peele: Quitting Acting and Starting Directing
According to Peele himself, “The Emoji Movie actually helped me quit acting. I was offered the role of Poop.”
Peele says his agent offered him the role, and he was so disgusted by the offer that it turned him off from acting entirely. He went on to direct Get Out to United States box office success and critical acclaim. He’s continued to make films that have reshaped the horror genre and focused on telling Black stories. Everything from the writing to the cinematography adds to the richness of the storytelling.
Let’s take a look at the Jordan Peele movies released so far and the ones to come.
Released in 2017, Get Out was written, co-produced, and directed by Jordan Peele. It starred Daniel Kaluuya, an incredibly gifted actor that Peele has featured in his other films as well.
The film follows Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a Black man that journeys to Upstate New York to meet his white girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Allison Williams) parents. She assures him that they aren’t racist.
What follows is an incredible commentary on racism and a gripping horror film as well. A quote by The Guardian’s Lanre Bakare sums up the movie’s success well: “The villains here aren’t southern rednecks or neo-Nazi skinheads, or the so-called ‘alt-right’. They’re middle-class white liberals. The kind of people who shop at Trader Joe’s, donate to the ACLU and would have voted for Obama a third time if they could. The thing Get Out does so well…is to show how, however unintentionally, these same people can make life so hard and uncomfortable for black people. It exposes a liberal ignorance and hubris that has been allowed to fester.”
Apart from its many awards, the Writer’s Guild of America chose to rank Peele’s script as one of the greatest film pieces of the 21st century.
Released in 2019, Jordan Peele both directed and wrote Us. The film stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker.
Nyong’o truly shines in this film. She grapples with a particularly challenging dual role and sharply convinces the audience that she’s really two separate people.
The film follows Adelaide (Nyong’o) as she, her kids, and husband Gabe (Winston Duke) go on vacation to a beach where Adelaide had an unsettling incident as a child. Her family and friends write her off as paranoid until haunting replicas of the family appear on their doorstep at night.
While he did not direct this one, Candyman ranks as another one of the great Jordan Peele movies as he co-wrote and co-produced it. This supernatural slasher flick is the sequel to the 1992, also named Candyman. It ignores the other sequels and only focuses on the original.
Three of the original actors (Vanessa Williams, Virginia Madsen, and Tony Todd) reprise their 1992 roles as Anne-Marie McCoy, Helen Lyle, and Daniel Robitaille.
It follows the story of an obsessed artist compelled to the story of “the Candyman.” According to legend, if you say the name “Candyman” in the mirror five times, the spirit of Sherman Fields will appear. In 1997, the police beat Fields to death, assuming he was responsible for putting razor blades in candies. He was declared innocent two weeks later.
Once again starring Daniel Kaluuya, this feature film will appear on the big screen on July 22, 2022.
Jordan Peele directs, co-produces, and wrote this sci-fi horror movie by Universal Pictures. The film Nope follows siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) who try to get video evidence of an alien presence after falling objects from the UFO kill their father. It also stars Steven Yeun.
Wendell and Wild
The creator of Coraline teamed up with Jordan Peele to write Wendell & Wild. It’s a stop-motion feature based on an unpublished book by Henry Selik and Clay McLeod Chapman.
The movie will release on Netflix in October 2022. The premise involves two scheming demon brothers played by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele trying to get summoned to the Land of the Living.
What Is Your Favorite of the Jordan Peele Movies?
Jordan Peele movies set themselves apart for their compelling storytelling that gives viewers insight into the African American experience. We’re excited to see him get back into acting with projects like The Twilight Zone and Wendell & Wild. While he’s an incredible writer, producer, and director, he also shines as an actor and comedian.
So which one of the Jordan Peele movies is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!