Jordan Peele, writer and director of the brilliant socially conscious horror film "Get Out," is being honored as Director of the Year at CinemaCon, the gathering of the National Association of Theatre Owners, happening this week in Las Vegas.
“With the phenomenon known as ‘Get Out,' Jordan Peele has instantaneously become a force to reckon with as a gifted and enormously talented director and filmmaker,” CinemaCon Managing Director Mitch Neuhauser said in a statement . “He has audiences and critics around the globe enamored and spellbound, dare I say hypnotized, with his wildly inventive directorial debut, and we are ecstatic to be honoring him as this year’s ‘Director of the Year.’”
Peele will be awarded at a Thursday gala. “Get Out,” his directorial debut, is quite a departure from “Keanu” or the acclaimed “Key and Peele” Comedy Central series. The movie starts out hitting the notes of a romantic comedy, with Chris and Rose headed to a weekend at her parents' country home.
PAST COVERAGE: Our interview with Jordan Peele
SPOILER ALERT - QUIT READING IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET.
Turns out Rose, played by Allison Williams, is simply continuing her insidious role of luring strong, handsome African Americans out to the sticks where her freaky hypnotist mom, played by Catherine Keener, lulls them into incapacitation with her magic teaspoon and cup so her evil doctor dad, played by Bradley Whitford, can transplant the brains of his ailing white friends into their healthy black bodies.
“I wrote this movie in the Obama presidency. It felt like race was not being discussed in a way I felt like it deserved to be,” Peele said during an interview with us in Atlanta right before the movie came out. “For the past couple of years and especially now, racial tension and racial conversation is front and center in this country.”
The movie captivated audiences and made history when Peele became the first African-American writer-director to earn $100 million with his debut movie. Yet he knows all too well the persistent sting of racism.
“I’ve been asked to hang up coats” while attending black-tie events, he said.
During our talk he said he hoped the movie would spark conversations about viewers - a mission he's easily accomplished.
"We have to look within ourselves constantly," Peele said. "Racism is always going to be present in this country, and racism is not a one-sided dynamic. This isn’t just a black horror movie, this is a movie everyone is meant to enjoy. It's a way to promote that conversation in a way that’s fun."