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Jordan Peele Reflects on Retiring from Acting and the Trump Supporters in ‘Get Out’ Crew

Peele says watching himself act onscreen is "a bad kind of masturbatory."

Jordan Peele

y Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Jordan Peele joked at the 2018 Directors Guild of America Awards that he was retiring from acting after being offered the voice role of the poop emoji in the animated family film “The Emoji Movie.” The wisecrack went viral, but Peele was serious about quitting. During this week’s “Get Out the Vote” virtual event (via THR), Peele doubled down on retirement while in conversation with his “Get Out” supporting actor Bradley Whitford. The event was held as a virtual fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Georgia ahead of the state’s January 5 run-off election.

“I like watching my movies. I can watch the films I direct [but] watching me perform just feels like… a bad kind of masturbatory,” Peele said after Whitford asked if acting was behind him. “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.”

Later in the conversation, Whitford noted that members of the “Get Out” production crew were obvious Trump supporters. Peele filmed “Get Out” in Fairhope and Mobile, Alabama for three weeks beginning in February 2016, several months before Donald Trump won the election and just over a year before Trump’s inauguration. Whitford and Peele identify as Democrats, but they maintain “Get Out” was made at a time when tension between political parties didn’t entirely rule out a middle ground for understanding.

“We shot [the film] with people who were of different political persuasions and it was cool. I liked them. I liked the people down there,” Peele said. “There was this feeling of America that was still happening where we have different beliefs, and I may even kinda think you’re racist but we’re stuck here and we’re going to be cordial to one another and, hey, maybe we might even connect. There were all these possibilities. The vibe shifted… Even as soon as [Trump] was voted out, all of a sudden it felt like I could fuck with them again now that he’s gone.”

“Get Out” opened in February 2017 just as Trump’s presidency was beginning, and Peele said he found the film resonated with white audiences as much as Black audiences. “The one thing I will say about the unconsciously racist white liberals is they’re ready to watch that movie and try to understand. There’s a penance that some people are ready for,” the writer/director said. “I was happy that white people seemed to get it. It spoke to me about the power of story.”

Peele is currently developing a new movie with “Get Out” and “Us” studio Universal Pictures. The movie already has a theatrical release date set for July 2022. Head over to THR’s website for a full rundown of highlights from Peele and Whitford’s “Get Out the Vote” event.

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