Today, filmmaker Jordan Peele is known as one of the most important voices in the horror genre, with films like Get Out and Us under his belt. But for the internet generation, Peele will always be one half of the hilarious sketch duo, Key & Peele, whose show was often hailed as the Dave Chappelle Show of the modern era. But despite playing a dazzling array of roles in several iconic comic sketches, Jordan Peele retired from acting. Now he's explaining the real reason why.
"I like watching my movies. I can watch the films I direct [but] watching me perform just feels like... a bad kind of masturbatory. It's masturbation you don't enjoy. I feel like I got to do so much and it is a great feeling. When I think about those great moments when you're basking in something you said that feels funny. When I think about all that, I think I got enough."
Long before Get Out signaled the arrival of a significant new filmmaker, Jordan Peele was an actor working odd jobs around Hollywood. He appeared for several seasons of the cult classic show MADtv, which is where he teamed up with his longtime collaborator Keegan-Michael Key. Together, the duo set the comedy world on fire.
But at the back of Peele's mind was always a conscious desire to be in charge of his own storytelling as a creative talent instead of working on supporting other people's visions for their movies. Thus, he began working on the script that would eventually become his first feature, Get Out.
Despite the success of the film, Peele continued to act, both in front of and behind the camera in voiceover roles. In 2018, he explained how an offer of a role in the much-maligned The Emoji Movie helped put him off acting for good.
"'The Emoji Movie' actually helped me quit acting. I was offered the role of Poop. This is true. I would not make this up." He called his manager the following day to ask how much he was being offered for the role, but "[my manager said], 'They've already given it to Sir Patrick Stewart.' I was like, 'Fuck this.'"
Since The Emoji Movie, Peele has appeared in acting roles sporadically, from Big Mouth, and The Twilight Zone to Toy Story 4, so perhaps he has not completely turned his back on the world of acting, which would be a genuine loss for the comedy genre.
But it is clear that the filmmaker has had a much greater impact as a storyteller, helping greenlight such notable projects as Lovecraft Country, and the Candyman reboot. As Peele explains it, his work as a director and producer allows for much greater satisfaction than acting ever did.
"I knew I was making a movie for us. I knew I was making a movie for the me that didn't feel represented in the [horror] genre and for everybody, for all the Black people who are screaming at the screen, 'Have some sense, get the fuck out of the house, get some Black people in here so somebody can do the right thing.' When that hit home and I felt that, it was just extreme warmth. Everything else after that was just gravy."
This news originated at The Hollywood Reporter.