Jordan Peele Recalls Telling Daniel Kaluuya 'You’re My De Niro'

The Academy Award-winning director opened up about his working relationship with Kaluuya, and the "bond" they've developed over the past few years.

Director Jordan Peele (L) and actor Daniel Kaluuya pose

Image via Getty/Kevin Mazur

Director Jordan Peele (L) and actor Daniel Kaluuya pose

Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya could become some of the most prolific collaborators in film.

During a recent interview with Empire magazine, Peele spoke about his working relationship with Kaluuya and his plans to keep teaming up throughout their careers—much like director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro.

“It’s so funny, but by the point I was in the middle of [shooting]Get Out, that’s what I was telling him,” Peele recalled. “I was like [makes serious eye contact], ‘You’re my De Niro, man. You’re my De Niro.’ I was like, ‘I need you to be in the future ones too, man!’ You could just tell what we had in him as a performer, from the very beginning.”

Scorsese and De Niro have have joined forces on multiple projects since the 1970s, including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, and The Irishman. Peele and Kaluuya first worked together on the Academy Award-winning film Get Out, which marked Peele’s directorial debut and Kaluuya’s breakout role. 

“We do have a bond,” Peele continued. “The first big movie he was a lead in, and my directorial debut, was Get Out. And we bonded because we went through that together. In the beginning of that, it feels like two people who have faith in each other, then by the end, it all works. So I just couldn’t wait to further that relationship and explore a completely new character with Daniel.”

The two are now gearing up for the premiere of Nope, a sci-fi horror flick directed by Peele and starring Kaluuya as OJ Haywood. The film tells the story of OJ and his sister Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer), who both own and operate the only Black-owned horse ranch in Hollywood.

Nope co-stars Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, and Barbie Ferreira. It’ll hit U.S. theaters July 22.

You can read Peele’s full Empire interview in the upcoming issue, Nope in the Avatar: The Way Of Water issue. The issue hits stands July 7, and can be ordered here.

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