By Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter
The studio has signed Peele to a first-look overall production deal with his Monkeypaw Productions banner.
Under the two-year deal, Universal stakes a claim to Peele’s next film, an untitled social thriller that he will write, direct, and produce. That project is looking to have a larger canvas than Get Out as the budget will be about five times bigger than his low-budget movie made with producer Jason Blum.
The deal comes as nearly every studio had been chasing to work with Peele, who wrote and directed the breakout thriller released in February that became a cultural phenomenon thanks to its creative way of tackling racial issues. The movie, which Universal released, has grossed over $194 million worldwide and was made on a budget of about $5 million. The studio moved swiftly and aggressively to bring the actor-filmmaker into the fold.
“Through extraordinary imagination and fearless humor, Jordan has proven himself to be a game-changer who is driven to tell stories that are as commercially entertaining as they are disruptive and provocative,” said Universal chairman Donna Langley. “The entire Universal family takes great pride in his incomparable filmmaking debut, and feel fortunate that this studio will be Jordan’s home for many years to come.”
While the deal also calls for Peele to produce a wide range of projects, a very key aspect of the pact is Peele producing projects with the aim of giving a voice and opportunities to those traditionally under-represented in front and behind the camera, be it gender, race, or sexual orientation. He will also reunite with Blum on micro-budget projects.
Peele is looking at the deal as a way to continue the work begun on his Emmy Award and Peabody Award-winning Comedy Central series Key and Peele and then in Get Out, creating awareness of social issues while wrapping the themes in a blanket of entertaining comedy or horror thriller or other genres.
“I am thrilled to continue the work we started together on Get Out — pushing the boundaries of storytelling, not only on the next film but with all of Monkeypaw’s future projects,” said Peele.
Get Out starred Daniel Kaluuya as a young black man whose white girlfriend, played by Allison Williams, takes him home to meet her parents. There he encounters a passive kind of racism before being plunged in a nightmare that includes secret societies, kidnappings, and submerged personalities. The movie was a horror thriller on one level but at the same time shed light on not just black tropes in horror movies but also on many forms of racism while also providing some apt metaphors on the black experience.
Peele founded Monkeypaw in 2012 and the company produced Key and Peele for five seasons. It is also producing the upcoming Tracy Morgan comedy at TBS. On the film side, Monkeypaw’s credits include the New Line comedy Keanu.
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