Peele’s third feature film follows his 2017 directorial debut Get Out and his 2019 sophomore release Us, which have both cemented him among the greats in the horror film genre—a claim he doesn’t yet agree with. It might be too soon to say but Nope, which hits theaters on Friday (July 22), is yet another indicator that he is well on his way to being one of the most innovative directors Hollywood has ever seen.
Get Out changed the game in a lot of ways. It carved a path for more Black horror films, introduced Daniel Kaluuya (who got his first Oscar nomination for the role) into the movie world, and showed that Peele had a promising future in filmmaking. Peele also wrote, directed, and co-produced Nope under his Monkeypaw Productions company so the film is 100 percent his brainchild. And after attending two separate screenings for the most anticipated film of the summer, the only question I was left with is, “What the hell is going on inside Peele’s mind?”
Nope is an original story about UFOs, a tale as old as time, but it has never been done quite in this way before. The film follows two siblings, OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer), who are left in charge of their father’s ranch after his mysterious passing. They soon realize that their father’s death was caused by random items falling from the sky that dropped down from an unidentified flying object.
Down on their luck and struggling to keep the ranch afloat, the brother and sister aim to go viral by capturing the phenomenon on video with the help of a tech salesman named Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) and filmmaker Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott).
Complex caught up with the director ahead of the movie’s release for a chat about Nope, casting Keke Palmer, why he thinks people love his movies, and what his thoughts are on being called one of the greatest directors of all time.