Photo: Universal Pictures
Jordan Peele will have you know that he’s been reading the fan theories surrounding Nope. The Oscar-winning horror maestro behind Us and Get Out couldn’t help but smile as he told the 3,000-something audience at Las Vegas CinemaCon on Wednesday that most of those ideas are totally wrong. Still, he said he feels heartened that viewers are taking the initiative to even try and figure his film out. “Some of the theories get kind of close,” Peele said from the stage at Caesars Palace. “Some are nonsense. Some are useful. More than anything, I appreciate an audience that’s engaged and looking for clues.”
But rather than provide a cogent breakdown of what moviegoers should expect when Nope reaches cineplexes on July 22, the filmmaker used his time during Universal’s slate presentation to further twist expectations. “I like titles in tune with how audiences are feeling and thinking inside the theater,” he explained. “You say, ‘This is going to be a scary movie.’ They say, ‘Nope, not for me.’ Especially Black audiences. We love horror but there’s a skepticism. You ain’t gonna scare me — nope! I’m going to personally thrive on the number of times we hear the word ‘nope’ in the theater. That person who doesn’t like horror movies, it’s about bringing that person in.”
In new Nope Footage screened for the first time at CinemaCon, we meet Daniel Kaluuya (Peele’s Get Out leading man) and Keke Palmer (of Hustlers fame) as married horse-ranch owner-operators facing a supernatural crisis. A UFO — a literal unidentified flying object — has been hovering above their home, alternately yanking people into the sky and raining down death from above. “I saw something above the clouds,” Palmer says in the clip. “It was big!”
Oscar nominee Steven Yeun appears in a cowboy hat and resplendent red rodeo suit: a kind of messianic figure who ominously intones: “You are about to witness an absolute spectacle.”
Spoiler alert! After an alien spacecraft drenches their house in blood, Kaluuya and Palmer’s characters realize the life-and-death stakes of their situation, compelling them to enlist outside help in the unlikely form of an electronics-store delivery man (Brandon Perea) and a documentarian (Michael Wincott) identified as the “only person who can film it” — it being the UFO.
“I’m very proud of it,” Peele said. “We shot Nope in 65-mm. and IMAX. 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. This film is definitely a ride.”