Lots of weird things are brewing in Jordan Peele’s 2019 horror film ‘Us’. The film’s opening scenes are a collage of seemingly unrelated nightmarish images: a vintage TV playing footage from the fundraiser national of 1986 Hands Across America. A wall of caged rabbits. A carnival in the 1980s. A young girl in a hall of mirrors. And, wait… Was it a reflection, or a real person?

This young girl will become a mom named Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) who, while vacationing with her family, returns to the site of her childhood trauma. At night, a mysterious and spooky family appears in her driveway. They wear matching red jumpsuits and leather mittens. They don’t talk, at least not at first. They are doubles. Adelaide’s husband (Winston Duke), her two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) and herself have perfect doubles who break into their home and threaten to “untie” them with decorative scissors. What it means to be “attached,” well, that’s one of the many mysteries in the film.

Nyong’o plays both Adelaide and her twisted double Red in “Us,” and her performance is nothing short of chilling. Red speaks as if his throat hasn’t been accessed in years, his body coiled up and constantly ready to explode. Adelaide is terrified, of course, but has a strange understanding of her infamous twin. Eventually, Peele reveals what their true connection is and where the doppelgangers came from, but none of it makes traditional, logical sense. “Us” plays like the nightmare one has after a late night reading folklore, American history textbooks, and watching 80s movies.

Nyong’o immersed himself in character to play Red. On set, some of her co-stars were scared of her and, in an interview with Rolling StoneNyong’o revealed that she was even afraid of herself.

It was a little scary

While speaking on Buzzfeed’s morning show “AM to DM” (via Hustle), Shahadi Wright Joseph reveals that Nyong’o stayed in character between takes while playing Red. Red doesn’t talk and walks around nervously, and Joseph admitted it was scary to see his co-star behaving that way even when the cameras weren’t rolling. And while Nyong’o tried his best to stay scary, Joseph felt it was all a game:

“It’s a lot of fun because you never know which one [Lupita] you’ll get some sometimes, which I think makes her perfect for the role because she has so many different personalities.”

Nyong’o’s sense of haunted house fun continued in “Us” press tours, in which the actress would appear on late-night talk shows to promote the project. When it appears on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert“, Nyong’o wore a pair of strange golden contact lenses, giving her a vampiric look. Nyong’o said in this interview that she “aims for the darker things in life now”.

Nyong’o spoke about these dark corners and what going into them entails in the Rolling Stone interview.

“…I absolutely had to go to dark, dark corners of my being to portray the only scary character. It was very intimidating to think that this character was scary or evil, you know those kind of words I found So it was about going beyond that because when you watch those scary movies, the evil is so disturbing that it seems larger than life. Trying to embody that can be pretty daunting. So, it was just about really deeply investigating the character’s emotional motivation and being situated in that and allowing that to magnify the character.”

The joy of scaring

In the end, Nyong’o was happy to work on “Us”, even if it was terrifying. More than anything, she relished the opportunity to work with Peele, whose 2017 film “Get Out” was a huge hit and was nominated for multiple Oscars, including Best Screenplay (which it won), best actor, best director and best film. . Nyong’o says:

“I really enjoyed being a part of bringing Jordan’s imagination to fruition. It was such a joy to work with him from the very beginning. One of the things that makes him an extremely amazing director is his compassion and his amazing communication skills. . At every turn of the making of this movie, he was just very, very good at keeping everyone informed of what was going on. And in doing so, you get on board, and you root for him and you root for work.

Nyong’o also talked about how Peele put her in the horror mindset by giving her horror homework. Peele asked Nyong’o to watch 10 horror movies that were important to him and essential to understanding the world of “Us”.

“Jordan really pays homage to the horror movie genre and canon. For me, it was helpful to know what kind of vocabulary he would be working from, what kind of aesthetic, what kind of style. So that was what that I was taking away from movies, really. Not really acting ratings per se, but the things that are going to influence the world that he was creating, because the world in ‘We’ is so deeply embedded in Jordan’s mind that to do my acting job, I really had to interview him.”

“We” received high praise from critics who appreciated Nyong’o’s performance, as well as the film’s ambitious mish-mash of themes. Peele’s next film, “Nope”, is set to hit theaters on July 22, 2022. Nyongo’s next film, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, is set to be released on November 11, 2022.


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