10 Fast Facts About Get Out

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Trekking beyond his Key & Peele sketch comedy roots, Jordan Peele surprised a lot of people by making his debut feature a horror film. There are a few uncomfortable laughs to be found in Get Out, but the bulk of the movie is a descent into madness that proves its main character, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), is right to be paranoid.

The film follows Chris as he visits his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) wealthy, white parents at their home, where Chris begins to suspect that something’s not right. Spoiler alert: He’s super correct, because the Armitage family is trying to sell his body to the highest bidder.

Here are 10 facts about the terrifying Best Picture nominee.

1. IT WAS INSPIRED BY AN EDDIE MURPHY ROUTINE.

Jordan Peele points to the classic bit in Eddie Murphy: Delirious where Murphy asks why white people don’t just leave a house when a ghost shows up as one generation point for the film. “In The Amityville Horror the ghost told them to get out of the house,” Murphy riffs. “Now that’s a hint and a half for you a**. If a ghost said ‘get the f*** out,’ I would just tip the f**** out the door.”

2. CHANCE THE RAPPER GAVE AWAY FREE TICKETS TO ITS CHICAGO OPENING.

Obviously a massive fan of the movie, Chance the Rapper purchased every ticket for every opening day showing of Get Out at the Chatham Theater on 87th in Chicago, and urged his Twitter followers to claim a ticket at the box office on his dime.

3. THE SUNKEN PLACE REPRESENTS THE MARGINALIZATION OF BLACK AMERICANS.

The metaphor is nuanced and multi-layered, but the main theme of the film’s horror is the real-world concept of a system silencing you no matter how loudly you shout. On the Blu-ray, Peele also explicitly stated that it is “a metaphor for the marginalization of the black horror movie audience. We are a loyal horror movie fan base, and we’re relegated to the theater, not on the screen.”

4. GET OUT IS ALSO ABOUT, NO KIDDING, THE HOLY GRAIL.

In the opening scene when Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) abducts Andre (Lakeith Stanfield), he’s got a Knight’s Templar helmet, which is one small element of a detailed backstory Peele gave to The Red Alchemists Society, the secretive group that comes together to bid on black bodies to inhabit.

“They believe they are destined for immortality and deity status,” Peele said. “And over hundreds of years they have worked to figure out through science a way to achieve the power of the Holy Grail.”

5. PEELE DID IMPRESSIONS WHILE DIRECTING.

When you’re known for impersonating President Barack Obama (with an anger interpreter by your side), why not bring that into the mix when you’re giving your actors notes? Peele’s on-set impressions included Obama and comedian Tracy Morgan.

6. PEELE ALSO HAS VOICE CAMEOS AS A DEER AND IN A COMMERCIAL.

As demonstrated in the video above, Peele provided the moan of the dying deer at the beginning of the film, as well as the voice of the narrator for the United Negro College Fund PSA, who keeps insisting that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

7. THE MOVIE IS BEING TAUGHT IN UNIVERSITIES.

In the fall of 2017, author Tananarive Due taught “Sunken Place: Racism, Survival, and Black Horror Aesthetic” at UCLA. Peele even dropped by the class to expand on, among other things, the film’s metaphorical connection to the modern prison industrial complex.

8. YOU SHOULD RE-WATCH THE MOVIE TO SEE WHAT ROSE DOES.

Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams in 'Get Out' (2017)
Justin Lubin, Universal Pictures

When Rose stops the cop from checking Chris’s license, it’s not to stand up for him against a racist act; it’s to ensure there’s no paper trail connecting Chris with her family. This is only one of many duplicitous acts Rose pulls off during the story, and Peele encourages fans to watch the movie again to see how Rose’s hidden intent plays.

9. IT’S THE FIRST FEBRUARY RELEASE SINCE THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS TO SCORE A BEST PICTURE NOMINATION.

And The Silence of the Lambs went on to win. Peele notes the Jonathan Demme classic as partial inspiration for the film, citing the scene where Hannibal Lecter is calmly waiting at the end of the prison hospital hallway as a model for how he introduced Georgina (Betty Gabriel). Want one more Get Out/The Silence of the Lambs connection? They’re two of a very small number of horror films to be nominated for Hollywood’s highest honor.

10. THE ORIGINAL ENDING WAS A DOWNER.

Daniel Kaluuya in 'Get Out' (2017)
Justin Lubin, Universal Pictures

The ending we all feared was initially the one Peele wanted for the film. He planned on having the police show up to arrest Chris for the carnage at the Armitage house, with Rod (LilRel Howery) visiting Chris in jail and hinting that he’d get life in prison with the system stacked against him.

10 Timeless Facts About The Land Before Time

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Five years before Jurassic Park roared into theaters, a gentler, more meditative dinosaur film endeared itself to audiences of all ages. Initially met with mixed reviews, The Land Before Time is now regarded as an animated classic. Here are 10 things you might not have known about the Steven Spielberg-produced film, which arrived in theaters 30 years ago.

1. IT WAS CONCEIVED AS A DIALOGUE-FREE MOVIE.

Gabriel Damon and Candace Hutson in The Land Before Time (1988)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

In the mid-1980s, executive producer Steven Spielberg began toying with the idea of a Bambi-esque dinosaur film. “Basically,” he later said, “I wanted to do a soft picture … about five little dinosaurs and how they grow up and work together as a group.” Inspiration came from the “Rite of Spring” sequence from Disney’s Fantasia (1940)—a scene in which prehistoric beasts wordlessly go about their business. At first, Spielberg wanted his own dinosaur characters to follow suit and remain mum. Ultimately, however, it was feared that a non-verbal approach might bore or confuse the film’s intended audience. As such, the animals were given lines.

2. DIRECTOR DON BLUTH WAS AN EX-DISNEY EMPLOYEE.

Don Bluth grew up idolizing Disney’s work, and began working for the studio in 1955. Over the next two decades, he did various odd jobs until he was brought on as a full-time animator in 1971. Once on the inside, Bluth got to peek behind the magician’s curtain—and disliked what he found there. “I think [Walt Disney] would’ve seen that the pictures were losing their luster,” Bluth said. Frustrated by the studio’s cost-cutting measures, he resigned in 1979. Joining him were fellow animators Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy. Together the trio launched their own company, Sullivan Bluth Studios, and began working on The Land Before Time in 1986.

3. OVER 600 BACKGROUND PAINTINGS WERE MADE FOR THE FILM.

Most of these depicted beautiful but barren wastelands, which presented a real challenge for the creative team. As one studio press release put it, “The artists had to create a believable environment in which there was almost no foliage.” Whenever possible, Bluth’s illustrators emphasized vibrant colors. This kept their backdrops from looking too drab or monotonous—despite the desolate setting.

4. LITTLEFOOT’S ORIGINAL NAME WAS “THUNDERFOOT.”

This was changed when the filmmakers learned that there was a triceratops in a popular children’s book called Thunderfoot. Speaking of three-horned dinosaurs: Cera evolved from a pugnacious male character called Bambo.

5. THE FILMMAKERS HAD TO CUT ABOUT 10 MINUTES OF FOOTAGE.

“We compromised a lot with The Land Before Time,” Goldman admitted. Nowhere was this fact more apparent than on the cutting room floor. Spielberg and his fellow executive producer George Lucas deemed 19 individual scenes “too scary.” “We’ll have kids crying in the lobby, and angry parents,” Spielberg warned. “You don’t want that.”

6. “ROOTER” WAS INTRODUCED AT THE URGING OF CHILD PSYCHOLOGISTS.

In Bambi, the title character’s mom dies off-screen. The same cannot be said for Littlefoot’s mother, whose slow demise goes on for several agonizing minutes. Naturally, there was some concern about how children would react to this. “A lot of research went into the mother dying sequence,” Pomeroy said. “Psychologists were approached and shown the film. They gave their professional opinions of how the sequence could be depicted.” Thus, Rooter was born.

One scene after Littlefoot’s mom passes, the wise reptile consoles him, saying “You’ll always miss her, but she’ll always be with you as long as you remember the things she taught you.” Sharp-eared fans might recognize Rooter’s voice as that of Pat Hingle, who also narrates the movie.

7. JAMES HORNER DID THE SOUNDTRACK.

The late, Oscar-winning composer behind Braveheart (1995), Titanic (1997), and Avatar (2009) put together a soaring score. Along with lyricist Will Jennings, he also penned the original song “If We Hold On Together,” which Diana Ross sings as the end credits roll.

8. THE ACTRESS BEHIND DUCKY PASSED AWAY BEFORE THE MOVIE’S RELEASE.

Judith Barsi’s career was off to a great start. By age 10, this daughter of Hungarian immigrants had already appeared in 70 commercials and voiced the leading lady in Don Bluth’s All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989). For The Land Before Time, Barsi voiced the ever-optimistic Ducky, which was reportedly her favorite role. Then tragedy struck: In July of 1988, Barsi’s father József murdered both her and her mother before taking his own life.

9. IT HAD A RECORD-SETTING OPENING WEEKEND.

From the get-go, The Land Before Time had some stiff competition. Universal released it on November 18, 1988—the same day that Disney’s Oliver & Company hit theaters. Yet, for a solid month, Bluth gave Oliver a box office beating. The Land Before Time enjoyed the highest-grossing opening weekend that any animated film had ever seen, pulling in $7.5 million to Oliver & Company’s $4 million. Since then, of course, The Land Before Time has long been dethroned; today, Incredibles 2 (2018) holds this coveted distinction with a $182.7 million first-weekend showing.

10. THERE ONCE WAS TALK OF A LAND BEFORE TIME STAGE MUSICAL.

“The time has come for dinosaurs on Broadway,” the late theatrical producer Irving Welzer told The New York Times in 1997. Emboldened by the recent cinematic success of Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1996), Welzer expressed an interest helping Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, and the rest of the gang make their Big Apple debut. Soon, however, the idea faded.

Billie Lourd Shares What (Very Little) She Can About Star Wars: Episode IX

Frazer Harrison, Getty Images
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

​Nearly nothing is known about the final film in the latest Star Wars series, except that J.J. Abrams, who helmed The Force Awakens, will be returning as director, and many of the cast members from both Abrams's earlier effort and The Last Jedi will be reprising their roles. Even the late Carrie Fisher, who sadly passed away on December 27, 2016, will be included in Episode IX, through unused footage from the previous two films.

Though all the stars of the upcoming film are sworn to secrecy about it, Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, is spilling what she can. Lourd, who played the minor role of Lieutenant Connix in the last two films, teased what it was like being back on set.

"I gotta watch myself because the Star Wars PD is going to come get me, but it is incredible. I’ve read the script and I’ve been on set," Lourd told ​Entertainment Tonight. "I was on set for, like, three weeks back in September, and it is going to be magical. I can’t say much more, but I’m so excited about it and so grateful to be a part of it. Star Wars is my heart. I love it."

A lot of things are riding on Episode IX, especially considering how divided fans were over The Last Jedi. Though with Abrams back in the director's chair, it seems likely that the new film will be a return to form. The as-yet-untitled film hits theaters on December 20, 2019.

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