Jordan Peele Teases Mysterious 'Nope' Plot, Calls Daniel Kaluuya His 'Dream Collaborator' (Exclusive)

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Jordan Peele knows you might get a little confused watching his films the first time, but the Academy Award-winning director says it's all part of the experience. ET's Kevin Frazier spoke with Peele at the premiere of his new thriller, Nope, and asked him if he intentionally makes his films confusing to "mess with folks."

"I like to make a movie that you can watch in a different way," Peele explains. "You can watch and analyze and talk with your friends or you can just kinda shut off and watch, and have a good time. When people tell me they watch the movie over and over again, I'm fascinated with that because every time they watch it, I feel like they watch it in a different way."

Nope stars Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya as siblings Jill and OJ Haywood, owners of Haywood Ranch, home of Hollywood's only Black-owned horse trainers. The duo recently lost their father to what they suspect are the aliens hovering over their property, and they hatch a scheme to capture and sell the first authentic look at UFOs. Kevin (Brandon Perea) is hired to set up their new UFO-detecting camera system, while Craig (Michael Wincott) is their photographic expert. But they soon learn that the aliens won't let them have what they want so easily. 

Steven Yeun, Barbie Ferreira, Keith David, Donna Mills and Andrew Patrick Ralston also star in the thriller. 

The film's mysterious promotion features clever quips, a jaunty soundtrack and paranormal intrigue, with an underscore of something more sinister. Considering Peele uses the horror genre to comment on social issues, namely racism and xenophobia, there's more to uncover with the Haywoods and their mission for "the Oprah shot."

Peele, who made his Hollywood breakthrough alongside close friend and fellow producer and screenwriter Keegan-Michael Key, noted that there are more connections between their solo bodies of work than people expect. 

"I think we both have, like, the dark and the light in us, we're both sort of like Jedis on both sides of the comedic thing," he says, adding that his exploration of the horror genre still incorporates a sense of comedy. "I think it's still funny, I think it's still fun. It is very dark -- I have a very dark sense of humor and and I like the horror elements, but I like the fun parts too."

As for his stellar cast, Peele has love for all of his stars, but especially his Oscar-winning collaborator, Kaluuya. The duo has remained close since working on Get Out in 2017, and Peele admits that the actor is his "dream collaborator" as a director. 

"We have a shorthand. We can talk, we have trust from the Get Out years, so we can get down to it really quick and time is everything in a movie," he shares. "So yeah, that's my brother right there."

The sentiment is wholeheartedly returned! In conversation with Peele for Essence's August issue, Kaluuya admitted that he was on the verge of quitting his craft when he began talks with the director for what would become his breakthrough role. 

Kaluuya said that he had been "really disillusioned" with acting when Peele reached out to him and they met. "I had stopped acting for like a year and a half," he reveals. 

"I checked out, because I was just like, this isn't working. I wasn't getting roles, because racism and all this kind of stuff -- so you reaching out was like, Okay, I'm not crazy. It’s proper. It's going to be all right," he adds.

He credited his performance to Peele and the script, saying, "I remember when it came through, I was like, this guy knows what he's doing. It's very rare you find writers that know what they're doing. No one understood it -- but I was like, This is a hit, this is a banger. It was just audacious."

Nope hits theaters on July 22.

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