Actor and filmmaker Jordan Peele has always had a deep love for cinema. When the acclaimed sketch comedy series Key and Peele ended its run in 2015, he was still debating if he would continue to work in front of the camera or make a full-time move to behind it. But in January 2018, after the success of his directorial debut Get Out, Peele abruptly announced that he had retired from acting.
Since then, he has remained busy with other projects such as hosting the new Twilight Zone reboot, voicing Duke Ellington’s ghost for the animated Netflix series Big Mouth, and executive producing HBO’s drama series Lovecraft Country. And according to his interview at a virtual fundraiser held by the Democratic nonprofit ActBlue, it sounds like Peele is having way more fun feeling himself these days.
“I like watching my movies. I can watch the films I direct [but] watching me perform just feels like… a bad kind of masturbatory. It’s masturbation you don’t enjoy. I feel like I got to do so much and it is a great feeling. When I think about those great moments when you’re basking in something you said that feels funny. When I think about all that, I think I got enough.”
He then went on to talk about some of his experience working with Trump supporters on the set of Get Out and how that shaped his view of them and the country at the time. “There was this feeling of America that was still happening where we have different beliefs, and I may even kinda think you’re racist but we’re stuck here and we’re going to be cordial to one another, and hey, maybe we might even connect.”
Ultimately, though, what appealed to him was the power in being a Black storyteller who delivers narratives from a more authentic perspective. “I knew I was making a movie for us. I knew I was making a movie for the me that didn’t feel represented in the [horror] genre and for everybody, for all the Black people who are screaming at the screen, ‘Have some sense, get the f*** out of the house, get some Black people in here so somebody can do the right thing.’ When that hit home and I felt that, it was just extreme warmth. Everything else after that was just gravy.”