Jordan Peele explains why he felt compelled to make Get Out

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Nov 27, 2017, 1:07 PM EST

Jordan Peele is now perhaps best known as the director of one of the breakout horror hits of 2017, Get Out. A year ago, that was not the case.

Before Get Out, Peele was known as one half of the comedy duo Key & Peele. Partnered with Keegan-Michael Key, he made a hit Comedy Central series and the hilarious action comedy Keanu. While Get Out is still funny despite its horror tropes, it was a risky pivot for Peele. In a new interview, he explains why he felt it had to happen.

Speaking to Mike Fleming Jr. as part of Deadline's "Contenders" series, Peele tried to outline the reasons he chose horror for his directorial debut. The first reason is simple: He just loves horror movies.

“The reason I made it a horror film is that it’s my favorite genre,” Peele said. “I actually started wanting to make a horror thriller, and in asking myself what that would look like, eventually I got to what Get Out is, which is, in many ways, my greatest fears on film.”

Then, Peele gets into his deeper motivations. The whole film is a giant metaphor for race relations in America, something the Key & Peele TV series often touched on in a more comedic way. For Peele, describing all of our discomfort about the race conversation in America was just too difficult to distill into a single point, so rather than trying to make his points by merely speaking, he wanted to tell us a story instead.

“If I could whittle the point of the movie — what I was trying to say — into one sentence, I wouldn’t be able to,” he said. “That’s why I had to make the movie. It was more complex than that.”

Check out the full clip of Peele discussing his intentions with Get Out -- including a little bit of his stellar Barack Obama impression -- below. Warning: There are SPOILERS.