Jordan Peele on why Nopes called Nope

Jordan Peele has quickly become one of horror’s top-tier maestros – the filmmaker having terrified the world with both Get Out and Us, two unique spins on the genre. Now, Peele re-teams with Daniel Kaluuya on Nope, a movie that broadly centers on two ranch-owning siblings, OJ and Emerald Haywood, who have a close encounter with the third kind. The film’s title, however, gives little away.

“The story behind that title is a little similar to the title of Get Out,” Peele tells SFX magazine in the new issue, featuring Prey on the cover (opens in new tab). “I wanted to acknowledge my audience’s perspective. In African-American culture there is an innate understanding of what ‘nope’ means. It means that we will not step into a haunted house. We will not do a lot of things we see in horror movies. So with this being the great American UFO film, I wanted to once again acknowledge that there is another ‘nope’ situation for us.”

Though the twists and turns of Nope remain under wraps, there’s a lot to look forward to, and Peele says there was one keyword when tackling the film: spectacle. Make no mistake – this is a movie movie, consciously engineered for the big screen. “I started this film in a time when I thought the theatrical experience was in jeopardy,” he says. “So I wanted to save my magic place. I wanted to make something that when the world returned to some kind of normalcy – not that that’s what we can call this – and the theatres came back, that this would be something that would bring people out and would validate the theatrical experience.

“That’s why I went big. I said, ‘Look, I have a responsibility here. There are few people who can get a studio behind them to tell a story, to tell a really big, ambitious vision.’ Every story is as big as it relates to the person who’s watching it but the word spectacle itself is the first cornerstone of how I started thinking about the theme of the movie.”

Nope is in UK cinemas from 12 August and US theatres from July 22. For much more from Peele, check out the current issue of SFX Magazine (opens in new tab) with Predator prequel Prey on the cover. For even more from SFX, sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.

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