Get Out director Jordan Peele has shared a longer response to his horror film being categorized as a comedy for the Golden Globes. The movie is, admittedly, difficult to classify. Though technically a thriller, it could just as easily be classified as a social satire, and much of its brilliance is in its ability to upend genre norms. But while Get Out does have comedic elements, the decision to put it under “comedy” seemed to dismiss its overarching message, a sobering commentary about the exploitation of black bodies and the deep racial divides still festering amid modern society.
Many fans were outraged by the move, and the director — whose background is in comedy — initially dismissed it with a quick quip on Twitter earlier this week responding to Get Out being labeled a comedy. “Get Out is a documentary,” he wrote simply. Now, however, he has a bigger message.
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In a statement provided to Deadline on Friday, the director explained that he initially wasn’t taken aback by the news, but he’s since done some further reflection about why it elicited such a visceral response. He said:
“The most rewarding part of making Get Out is the conversations the film has inspired. When I originally heard the idea of placing it in the comedy category it didn’t register to me as an issue. I missed it. There’s no category for social thriller. So what? I moved on. I made this movie for the loyal black horror fans who have been underrepresented for years. When people began standing up for my voice, it meant a lot. Get Out doesn’t just belong to me any more, now it belongs to everyone.”
He then went on to say he realizes that the decision represents a larger problem, but ultimately, he doesn’t care how Get Out is categorized:
“The reason for the visceral response to this movie being called a comedy is that we are still living in a time in which African American cries for justice aren’t being taken seriously. It’s important to acknowledge that though there are funny moments, the systemic racism that the movie is about is very real. More than anything, it shows me that film can be a force for change. At the end of the day, call Get Out horror, comedy, drama, action or documentary, I don’t care. Whatever you call it, just know it’s our truth.”
It’s worth noting that putting a film in an unorthodox category is not a new practice, as creators or actors will occasionally do so either to bolster their chances of winning or when they feel their projects straddle more than one genre. In 2016, for example, Ridley Scott’s The Martian, a decidedly unfunny space drama, won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy. People were just as perplexed then, but the point stands.
The same seems to be the case for Get Out, which was submitted for consideration as a comedy by its production company, Blumhouse. Here, it had unfortunate societal implications, and it will certainly be odd to see it compete against other potential contenders like The Big Sick, I, Tonya, and The Disaster Artist, all of which seem too vastly different to compare. But Get Out is one of the most celebrated movies of 2017, so it shouldn’t have any trouble scooping up a few awards. If Peele doesn’t care, perhaps neither should we – but, as he said, Get Out doesn’t just belong to him anymore.
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