Peele shakes up modern obsessions with ‘Nope’ movie and theme park attraction

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“No” hits theaters — and an Instagram-perfect Los Angeles theme park attraction — this Friday. — Photo ETX Studio

Friday July 22, 2022 05:55 MYT

NEW YORK, July 22 — NopeJordan Peele’s latest withered horror satire on our modern obsession with attention and spectacle, lands in theaters — and an Instagram-perfect Los Angeles theme park attraction — this Friday.

The Oscar-winning writer-director – who is widely credited with elevating and revitalizing the horror genre with get out and We — teams up with Daniel Kaluuya, who plays OJ, a horse trainer frightened by otherworldly phenomena in the skies above his California ranch.

OJ and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) must juggle their fear of mysterious and potentially dangerous UFO activity with their desire to achieve fame and wealth by capturing it on camera.

“The real villain is our addiction to attention and spectacle, and our inability to react in real time,” Palmer told AFP on the red carpet at the film’s Hollywood premiere this week.

“It’s no different than any traffic jam on a motorway when there’s an accident – no one calls but everyone stops to watch.

“That’s the real horror our film is about.” It builds on the themes Peele introduced in his searing satire of the race from 2017 get out, which was made for less than US$5 million (RM22.3 million) and grossed US$255 million. It also won him the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

He followed up with another blow, Wesecuring a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most daring directors and one of the best black filmmakers.

“His vision”

Such was Universal Pictures’ confidence in Peele’s latest project, it took the unprecedented step of opening a new Nope attraction at its Universal Studios theme park the same day the film opens.

“This is the first time we’ve opened a day and night attraction with a new movie,” said Jon Corfino, director of Universal Creative.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of this.” The real film set of Jupiter’s Claim, a fictional western-themed little amusement park that features prominently in Nope – was carefully deconstructed at the end of filming at the film’s location in the California desert and meticulously reconstructed in the real-world theme park in Los Angeles.

“This set was the real authentic set that was used in the production,” Corfino said.

“He was actually broken up and brought back here assembled…that’s basically exactly his vision.” Appropriately for the film’s themes, visitors who pay for the VIP studio tour have the opportunity to wander its faux-but-hyper-realistic streets, take selfies and shoot TikTok videos in front of the saloon, the office of the sheriff and gold panning.

‘Ambitious’

It becomes the latest permanent attraction on Universal’s Studio Tour, where tourists are transported around working scenes and sets from classic films such as Steven Spielberg. Jaws and Alfred Hitchcock psychology. “Jordan Peele takes his place among that lineage,” Corfino said.

Whether the film will make it remains to be seen – early reviews have been mixed, with Empire praising an “ambitious and provocative swing”, but the Guardian describing Peele’s latest work as “coagulated and heavy”. “There are a million stories inside of it and metaphors that anyone in the audience can take differently,” said Nope starring Brandon Perea.

“You can take it how you take it, and I think that’s great.” — Studio ETX

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