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CinemaCon 2022

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Jordan Peele was in Las Vegas on Wednesday for CinemaCon 2022, where the 43-year-old actor/filmmaker showed attendees an extended trailer of his upcoming horror movie, Nope. And according to reports, the audience was about as much confused about the plot as it was spooked. Peele shared why he chose that title for his new movie. He also revealed if any current theories about the film’s storyline are correct.

“I know a lot of people who say when it’s a scary movie they say, ‘Nope!’ Especially Black audiences, right? We love horror, but there’s a skepticism,” he said. “I love a rapt audience… I love to encourage that interaction, because that’s what’s giving the audience a unique experience,” Peele also added. “Roller coasters aren’t fun alone. Being scared isn’t fun alone. You need that energy.”

Peele appears to enjoy the tradition of using double entendres and plays-on-words as titles.

In November 2017, he told Fandom, “I think the first working title was Get Out of the House, which was just a longer sentence that one might scream at a typical horror movie.” At some point, probably in the tradition of Scream and some of the pulpier horror movies from the 1960s and ’70s, I went with the exclamation point. Well, I didn’t go with the exclamation point, but that’s implied.”

“At some point, I was toying around with horror titles that were a little bit more on the nose,” Peele continued. “So I was thinking about the title Keepers. And at one point, I even thought about calling the movie White, but nothing ever beat Get Out.” In fact, the characters Rod (played by Lil Rel Howery) and Andre (portrayed by LaKeith Stanfield) each say it at different points in the movie to the protagonist Chris (played by Daniel Kaluuya, who is also in Nope).

And in March 2019, while promoting his second horror flick, Us, at its Los Angeles press day, Yahoo asked him if the title was a reference to the internal fight we everyone faces each day — or could that even be taken further and allude to the United States, too.

“There’s a double meaning to everything,” Peele responded at the time. “Yeah, I mean this movie is about duality and there’s no choice that I’m not trying to layer. The state of this country inspired me. We’re a country that is afraid of the outsider. Whether it’s within our borders or outside of our borders.” (Note: The movie’s official tagline was “We Are Our Own Worst Enemy.”)

People who saw Wednesday’s special Nope trailer at CinemaCon are speculating about the plot, who the villain[s] might be, and more. But Peele remained open-ended about the accuracy of their guesses. “Some get kind of close, some are nonsense,” he revealed. “Some are not even remotely close. Some are useful. I appreciate the audience that is engaged and looking for clues.”

“I’m very proud of [the movie],” he also said on Wednesday. “We shot Nope in 65 mm in Imax. Incredible. The Imax cameras allowed us to capture some incredible images, unlike anything on film before. We used some new techniques that we’ve never seen before.”

And although he was a writer and producer for last year’s hit sequel Candyman, it has been five years since one of Peele’s original creations hit the big screen. However, his opening address at CinemaCon 2022 captured the reason why he’d rather take his time instead of collect money working for an existing franchise: “I’ve always been attracted by the prospect of my favorite movie I haven’t seen before and what that could possibly be,” he said. “And that to me is in the spirit of moviemaking.”

Nope is scheduled to hit theaters Friday, July 22, 2022.