“Everything We Know about … ” is Paste’s series of deep dives into the forthcoming projects we’re most excited about. Explore them all here.
After Get Out hit the American box office like a bombshell in 2017, racking up $255 million on a mere $4.5 million budget, it was immediately clear that Jordan Peele had arrived as a 21st century populist filmmaker of note. Peele’s talent for characterization, dialogue and sharp plotting won the 39-year-old, former Key & Peele star an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and announced his presence as one of Hollywood’s leading writer-directors. A wave of new projects followed, from the CBS All Access reboot of The Twilight Zone (which just began production this month), to TBS’ The Last O.G. with Tracy Morgan, to HBO’s forthcoming Lovecraft Country, all of which Peele is producing. And that’s not even including all of his acting gigs, which include everything from occasional Bob’s Burgers appearances to an array of characters on Netflix’s Big Mouth. Suffice to say, Peele has been an insanely busy dude in the last two years.
But of all the projects to which Peele is attached, perhaps none of them are as hotly anticipated (or as mysterious) as his sophomore feature film directorial effort, Us. Although the film already has a release date, currently slotted for March 15, 2019, few details on plot or tone have leaked as of yet. In fact, it seems as if the nature of Us has been guarded quite closely, but we do know a few things.
What kind of film is Us?
It’s clear that there are definitely thriller/horror elements to Us, which the poster describes as “a new nightmare from the mind of Jordan Peele.” The film has been described on occasion as a “social-horror thriller,” which sounds like a term that could have been equally applied to Get Out. As in his first film, Peele will be directing from his own script—certainly a good sign, if you ask us. He’s also producing via his own Monkeypaw Productions, with Sean McKittrick and Jason Blum.
In terms of plot, the only information being bandied around is that Us apparently “centers on two couples,” one white and one black. We can only assume that the story revolves around interactions between these two couples, and that the horrors of racial identity and prejudice will certainly come into play in similar ways to Get Out. Star Elisabeth Moss dropped some more knowledge recently when she described the film as a “thought-provoking popcorn movie,” which certainly sounds about right. She went on to say the following:
All I can kind of say is, I’m obviously a huge fan of Get Out, as is the rest of the world, and I think this movie’s gonna be really good.
He really is a great director, like, a great actor’s director. I think just being an [fellow] actor doesn’t even make you able to do that. It is a very specific skill, and it’s also the ability to not say things sometimes. He does this wonderful thing where he’s like, if you ask him a question, and you’re like, ‘Should I do it like this?’ and he doesn’t know, he’s just like, ‘I don’t know. Let’s try it.’ He makes it very safe and fun. He’s awesome.
UPDATE: An official synopsis, reportedly one being circulated to test screening audiences, has emerged. It is as follows:
A mother (Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o from Black Panther, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and 12 Years a Slave) and a father (Winston Duke from Black Panther) take their kids to their beach house expecting to unplug and unwind with friends (including Emmy winner Elizabeth Moss from TV series The Handmaid’s Tale). But as night descends, their serenity turns to tension and chaos when some shocking visitors arrive uninvited.
UPDATE: A new, official poster has been unveiled by Peele via Twitter, with a promise of a trailer coming around Christmas. There’s also a short little video hyping said Christmas trailer.
Who’s been cast?
If Us centers around two couples, the most obvious question to first answer is “who is playing those couples?” Here, we have at least a decent idea of what to expect, at least for three of the names.
First off there’s Winston Duke, who you’ll no doubt recognize as M’Baku in Black Panther, who will portray one half of a couple alongside Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o. On the other side we have the aforementioned Moss, who is presumably being joined by the other most prominent announced cast member, comedian Tim Heidecker. The latter is an interesting choice, being best known for absurdist Adult Swim comedy series such as Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. A prime role in Us would represent by far the biggest dramatic acting opportunity of Heidecker’s career. Perhaps he and Peele have run in some of the same comedy circles?
Also announced for the wider cast so far are Anna Diop, Kara Hayward, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Nathan Harrington, David M. Sandoval Jr., Evan Alex and Alessandro Garcia. Joseph will be heard by audiences before long as the voice of young Nala in Disney’s forthcoming The Lion King remake, while Mateen will appear in DC’s Aquaman.
One more name is of particular interest as well: Duke Nicholson, the 22-year-old grandson of Jack Nicholson, will be making his screen debut in Us. No idea what to expect there, but it’s an interesting Hollywood factoid to note.
What’s the latest?
We know at the very least that the film began principal production on July 30 of this year, and is currently scheduled for a March 15, 2019 release. It’s being shot entirely in California, with some shooting happening at the Universal Studios backlot, but current status of shooting is unknown. It seems likely that we’ll be informed when the film moves into post-production, whenever that may be.
Regardless, it pretty much goes without saying that we’re pretty ravenous to see a trailer or some initial footage of Us, and it will surely spread like wildfire across the internet once it arrives. Check back here for all the latest updates, which we’ll add to this piece as they break.
In the meantime, check out the eerie, minimalist poster for Us below.