Jordan Peele Says 'Get Out' Was "Meant to Be a More Direct, Brutal Wake-Up Call"

"The power of story is that it is one of the few ways we can really feel empathy and encourage empathy," the writer-director said about his film on THR's Writer Roundtable.

"It began as the fun of a horror story," writer Jordan Peele said of his film Get Out on The Hollywood Reporter's Writer Roundtable. "It's my favorite genre. I wanted to have fun while writing."

As the writing process continued, Peele explained to the others at the roundtable — Darren Aronofsky (mother!), Aaron Sorkin (Molly's Game), Emily V. Gordon (The Big Sick), Anthony McCarten (Darkest Hour) and Fatih Akin (In the Fade) — that the story turned into something "more important."

"The power of story is that it is one of the few ways we can really feel empathy and encourage empathy," explained Peele. "Built into the idea of a story is that you have a protagonist. When you have a protagonist, the whole trick that all of us are trying to do is bring the audience behind their eyes. A well-crafted story, a good story, is one of the few ways we can really not tell somebody you have to feel for somebody else — but make somebody feel because they're experiencing it through entertainment."

Get Out is Peele's second venture into writing (first being 2016's Keanu) and also acts as his directorial debut. Peele revealed that while he was writing the movie he thought it was going to be "horribly divisive."

"I thought I'd lose black people because we're victims in the movie and that's hard to watch, that's not fun," he explained. "Maybe I'd lose white people because white people are the villains in the movie, that would be an assault. But I stuck with it and one of the most fulfilling and validating things to see was how an audience would sort of go in with their different preconceived notions on what the film [was] but by the middle, they were all Chris. They were all the main character."

Peele added that he wrote Get Out during a time period he calls the "post-racial lie" of the Obama era. "The notion of bringing up racism was almost thought of perpetuating it," he explained. "The movie was originally meant to be a more direct, brutal wake-up call. It became very clear by showing people the movie, they needed a hero. They needed an escape."