Jordan Peele: Not Unlikely

Us & The Twilight Zone

BY: Zak Wojnar

The cover line on the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine touts the “Unlikely Triumph of Jordan Peele,” showing off just how truly out-of-touch the once-great magazine has become. The actor/writer/director has been on an incredible upward trajectory for nearly twenty years. Back in 2003, he and Keegan MIchael Key both joined the cast of Mad TV (Fox’s edgy alternative to Saturday Night Live), where the duo honed their comic sensibilities which would later be put to good use in their own Comedy Central series, Key & Peele.

Key & Peele was on a whole other level from the endless sea of sketch comedy programs, adding in genuine social commentary and biting satire, rather than just retreading the same tired characters and regurgitating pop culture happenings. After five seasons, the duo moved on from television to film, with Peele co-writing Keanu, an action comedy starring the duo on an adventure to save their cat, named after Keanu Reeves.

Then, everything changed with the release of Get Out. Produced on a budget of less than $5 million, the film became a massive commercial and critical success, grossing an incredible $255 million worldwide. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, the film was a true game-changer, for subverting genre conventions and being a genuinely thrilling horror movie with provocative racial themes at the center of its story. Peele even won an Oscar for his original screenplay (his acceptance speech can be seen in the video above.

Unlikely? Hardly. His fans have known for years that Jordan Peele is a unique talent. Just because Rolling Stone was the last group in the world to recognize that doesn’t mean his success was unlikely. It’s like when the President expresses surprise at common knowledge by saying something dumb like “nobody knew.” No, buddy, everybody knew except for you.

Regardless of his twenty-year career in the industry, Jordan Peele is just getting started and has two high-profile projects in the works:

Us

Following the success of Get Out, Peele has been hard at work on his follow-up, Us. Once again writing and directing under the Blumhouse banner, this mysterious horror movie still holds many secrets which won’t be revealed until its March 22 release date, but the story involves a family who takes a little vacation, only for all hell to break loose when they are confronted by their own doppelgangers. Like with Get Out, audiences can expect the unexpected, a thrilling horror story based on real-life fears experienced by minority communities, complete with genuine terror, intelligent dialogue, and – perhaps – a healthy dose of gallows humor.

The Twilight Zone

Get Out and Us have been compared to the classic TV anthology series, The Twilight Zone. Stand-alone horror stories with themes that resonate strongly in the real world, rife with allegories to real-life events, one could easily consider Jordan Peele the heir apparent to Rod Serling himself, one of the greatest screenwriters who ever lived. Apparently, CBS agrees, and Peele is Executive Producing and hosting a new incarnation of the classic series on CBS All Access. Like Star Trek: Discovery and Tell Me A Story, The Twilight Zone will not be bound by conventional restraints of network television and thus will hopefully have the opporunity to really cut loose and tell daring stories which shock, entertain, and change the lives of viewers, just like the original did, sixty years ago.