Keeping a movie's secrets is an entire branch of film production unto itself. Major blockbusters like the films produced by Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm, despite having hundreds on their pre- and post-production crews, manage to stay mostly secret (though there's clearly a demand for all information about these projects at every step along the way). That same level of scrutiny isn't as readily applied to smaller films, but you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting the secrets and third act twists of your films, especially if it's the highly-anticipated follow-up to an Oscar winner.
Warning: Full on spoilers for Jordan Peele's Us ahead!
Jordan Peele's Us managed to bring in comparable box office returns to the filmmaker's first feature Get Out, and still managed a respectable 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Given the anticipation for that film ahead of its debut earlier this year, the production had to get creative when it came to hiding its secrets, especially the secrets that would be out in the open and feature a ton of actors that were camera ready. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter about their most creative moments in production, Us producer Ian Cooper revealed how they were able to keep the film's climax, a “Hands Across America” recreation, a secret while filming in the broad daylight.
“When we were shooting all the Tethered holding hands on the beach in daylight, it dawned on me, 'How on earth are we going to not let this become a spoiler, because there are people everywhere?' I was looking at every person and bluffs in the distance and seeing who's up there, trying to make sure no one leaked this. We started telling people that we were shooting a Verizon commercial. If we sell that, then maybe they will disperse and not try to get the pictures. It seemed impossible not to let that leak, and somehow it didn't.”
This won't be the last time that Jordan Peele and his creative partners have to be on their toes about hiding secrets for his films as Universal Pictures announced earlier this year that they've entered a new agreement with the filmmaker for even more. Peele has an overall deal with the studio that includes at least his next two movies, both of which he will direct, write, and produce.
“Jordan has established himself as a premier voice and original storyteller with global appeal. He is leading a new generation of filmmakers that have found a way to tap into the cultural zeitgeist with groundbreaking content that resonates with audiences of all backgrounds,” Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley previously said. “We also share an important goal with Monkeypaw when it comes to increasing representation onscreen in the characters that are portrayed, the stories that are told and the people who tell them.”
“It would not have been possible to make Get Out and Us without the endless trust and support we received from Donna Langley and the team at Universal," Peele said. "Their willingness to take risks and their commitment to original content makes them the perfect collaborative partner for Monkeypaw. I couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead."
Us is out now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD. Universal Pictures is gearing up for a major awards season push for Us, submitting the film for consideration in many categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress for star Lupita Nyong’o.