Jordan Peele’s follow-up to hit movie Get Out was inspired by a classic episode of TV series The Twilight Zone.
The Oscar winning writer/director’s second film Us is set to debut in March, starring Black Panther’s Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as a couple with two children who are terrorised by doppelgangers called the Tethered.
And in a cover interview with Rolling Stone, Peele shared his inspiration for the feature came from a 1960 episode of the Rod Serling anthology series called Mirror Image, in which a woman encounters her double in a bus station and becomes convinced it arrived from a parallel universe, bent on replacing her.
“It’s terrifying, beautiful, really elegant storytelling and it opens up a world,” Peele, who is also executive producing a reboot of the classic series for CBS All Access, told the publication. “It opens up your imagination.”
In contrast to his directorial debut, which he made on shoestring budget of less than $5 million and grossed more than $250 million worldwide, Peele explained that despite casting the main parts with all black actors, Us will not be a direct commentary on race.
“It’s important to me that we can tell black stories without it being about race,” the 39-year-old explained. “I realised I had never seen a horror movie of this kind, where there’s an African-American family at the centre that just is.
“After you get over the initial realisation that you’re watching a black family in a horror film, you’re just watching a movie. You’re just watching people,” he continued. “I feel like it proves a very valid and different point than Get Out, which is, not everything is about race. Get Out proved the point that everything is about race. I’ve proved both points!”
Us sees Oscar-winning actress Lupita take on dual roles and the director was full of praise for her dark performance.
“She carried this anticipatory gravity in that scene where you just know,” he praised. “I feel like her performance is on par with Hannibal Lecter gravitas in this movie.”
Us hits cinemas in March.