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Within the film industry, Jordan Peele is in an extremely enviable position. While he was already enjoying plenty of success before 2017, this year saw his directorial debut, Get Out, earn rave reviews and make more than $250 million worldwide. As a result, he pretty much has the power to do whatever the hell he wants in the near future... but there's a very good reason why he's not immediately going the blockbuster route: it's not a world that he just wants to leap into without having enough experience. He recently explained:
The most important thing for me is maintaining as much of the virtues of the process of Get Out as possible. My goal and plan is to rise in budget slowly. It doesn't make any sense for me to jump to an enormous budget when it changes the process entirely. I pinch myself and realize how lucky I am to be able to have created something. And if i can do that again, isn't that the best?
The Hollywood Reporter recently sat down with Jordan Peele, Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley and producer Jason Blum to discuss the success of Get Out, and a portion of that conversation was dedicated to what Peele sees for his future as a director. The filmmaker explained that at this point in his career he simply doesn't feel prepared to take on a big budget blockbuster, and wants to work up to that point instead. Right now his only experience is working with a $4.5 million budget, and doesn't see that as a training course for a project carrying a six-digit price tag.
Of course, it's noteworthy that this breaks with a trend we've seen a lot of in Hollywood recently. In the last few years we've watched as directors like Josh Trank (Chronicle/Fantastic Four), Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kings of Summer/Kong: Skull Island), Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed/Jurassic World) and Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer/The Amazing Spider-Man) have gone from making very tiny directorial debuts to taking on major franchise projects as their sophomore efforts. It makes certain sense from a studio perspective, as the companies can exercise more authority over the creative vision of a blockbuster if not dealing with an experienced auteur - but it's also had some very mixed results in the quality department. Apparently this is water that Jordan Peele just doesn't want to test.
The nice thing to note is that Peele definitely isn't writing off future big budget projects with this statement. It's very possible that he will spend the next few years making movies with $20-50 million budgets, and that those productions will provide him with the clout and confidence to take on something massive. Given the strength of his vision as a filmmaker, we definitely hope this winds up being his path.
Speaking of that vision, Peele also wasn't shy in noting the correlation between Get Out's tiny budget and the creative control that he was allowed to exercise. A lot more money means a lot more eyes become focused on what he's doing, and that's a freedom he appreciates:
At that budget, I could actually make Get Out how I wanted to make it and not have people looking over my shoulder trying to make sure I got every piece of it right.