In sculpting a bit of social commentary while also being a horror film, writer/director Jordan Peele's Get Out has a plot that very much suits its needs -- centering on a black man who goes to meet his white girlfriend's parents for the first time. It ultimately unfolds as one of the best thrillers in recent memory... so what's rather surprising is the fact that the original conceit for the story was completely different and didn't involve the whole "meet the parents" part.
I learned about this very, very different version of Get Out when I had the pleasure of sitting down to interview Jordan Peele at the movie's recent Los Angeles press day. Knowing that there is always at least some degree of change in a film's development -- either extreme or minimal -- I asked the filmmaker about the differences between the script's first draft and the final cut arriving in theaters. He explained that the story initially revolved around a boyfriend meeting his girlfriend's old high school -- which obviously was a totally different dynamic. Said Peele,
The very first idea, it wasn't a Guess Who's Coming To Dinner situation. It was a girl bringing her boyfriend to a situation where all her old high school friends were. So it was that feeling of everybody has a private joke or a story. But it was still that feeling of being alienated, being the outsider. And at some point I realized, 'This has got to be Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.'
Impressively, I don't think anyone would bat an eye if Jordan Peele decided to sculpt that original idea into a wholly different film as a future project -- but part of that certainly comes from the industry credibility he is sure to earn with Get Out.
The extreme deviation between the first draft of the film and the final may surprise you, but the interesting thing is that it certainly didn't surprise Jordan Peele during development. As he told me during the interview, he's the kind of storyteller who lets the story dictate where it wants to go, rather than forcing anything:
It changed a lot. I'm in the school of 'Allow the movie to evolve up until the moment it comes out."... I think if you get too hung up on how something is supposed to be, or an old idea, you miss things. So this is a movie where I wrote draft after draft.
You can watch Jordan Peele discuss his earliest versions of Get Out by pressing play on the video below!