After experiencing a colossal opening weekend with the debut of his latest horror film, Us, director Jordan Peele met with a group of improv students at the Los Angeles' Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre on Monday (March 25) to share words of wisdom and talk candidly about his work as a filmmaker.
During the wide-ranging discussion, the 40-year-old covered everything from fame to marijuana use to why he is dedicated to inclusive casting.
"I don't envy someone who gets famous overnight," Peele shared with the group of students, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "The hardest part is being recognized. I used to think that being in the public eye gave you power. But all of a sudden, they have the power and can come up to you an hour into dinner."
He then focused on how to instead yield power to help influence the greater good instead of fixate on the egotistical side of celebrity.
"The way I look at it, I get to cast black people in my movies," the Oscar Award-winning screenwriter continued. "I feel fortunate to be in this position where I can say to Universal, 'I want to make a $20 million horror movie with a black family.' And they say yes. I don't see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie. Not that I don't like white dudes. But I've seen that movie."
Elsewhere during the conversation, Peele touched on the importance of the "art of listening" and how who he works with helps to best execute his vision.
After being met with applause, he added, "It really is one of the best, greatest pieces of this story, is feeling like we are in this time — a renaissance has happened and proved the myths about representation in the industry are false."
"Nothing is more important," the 40-year-old explained. "The more you are armed with what you take in, the more ammo you have. ... Directing for me is about hiring the right people, listening to them and helping them do the best job possible."
As previously reported, Us, which is now playing in theaters across the nation and has even encouraged celebrities such as Kid Cudi to host free showings, generated $70 million during its opening weekend, making history in the process as the largest opening for an original horror film.
To see Jordan Peele's recent comments in full, see here.