Watch Jordan Peele behind the scenes of Us movie as he directs Lupita Nyong’o, Elizabeth Moss, and Winston Duke.
Us film is being released by Universal.
Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker
Directed By Jordan Peele
Produced By Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum and Ian Cooper
Executive Produced By Daniel Lupi, Beatriz Sequeira
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Embracing the Unexpected
For the cinematography for Us, the filmmakers were seeking a sophisticated look that would elevate the style of the film to a level above what audiences expect with horror films, and they quickly landed on director of photography Michael Gioulakis. “Jordan and I first noticed the work of our DP, Michael Gioulakis, in the David Robert Mitchell film It Follows, which is without question a modern horror masterpiece,” Cooper says. “Mikey has this magical way of floating the camera on his subjects, and his instincts about when to quietly push in on something that’s happening in a scene are remarkable. He’s refined, sophisticated in his shooting style, and it’s such an exciting moment in his career to be working together.”
Gioulakis sought out opportunities to place the camera in surprising positions and unexpected places. “There are moments, shots, in this film that I’m almost giddy about audiences getting to see,” Cooper says. “One of my favorite shots in the whole movie is a close-up of Gabe poking his finger through a tiny hole in this big, black garbage bag and prying it open. He’s been unconscious, and now he wakes up and realizes that he’s in a bag, on the boat that he bought that morning, now being driven by his doppelgänger, Abraham, and that he’s about to be dumped into the water. It’s this huge, full-frame shot that Mikey did with just a finger poking through a garbage bag. It’s surreal and very scary.”
In recent years, Gioulakis has worked with some of the most acclaimed directors in the industry, and his working style was in perfect alignment with Peele’s on Us. “Mike Gioulakis is a quiet man who brings a calm demeanor to the fray of a film production,” McKittrick says. “Having worked with director David Robert Mitchell on It Follows, and M. Night Shyamalan on Split and Glass; and now Jordan, he’s really growing as a visionary of his own.”
THE PRODUCTION DESIGN
From Coastal Mid-Century to North Korea
Designing the Look of Us
Us is a film that exists in two dramatically distinct visual realms: the sun-drenched holiday aesthetic of beaches and boardwalks, and the sinister, terrifying feel of The Tethered. It required a design that was anchored in reality, but one that could be twisted into a mind-bending nightmare. And no one was better equipped to achieve both of those aims than production designer De Jong. “The way the Monkeypaw team described the look and feel of the production design they wanted was that they were looking for the natural, lived-in setting of Manchester by the Sea juxtaposed with the surreal world of Twin Peaks,” De Jong says. “Those were both projects that I had previously done, so the conversation went from there.”
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