Here's Why Keke Palmer Appreciates Jordan Peele's Directing Style

With his third feature film, "Nope," Jordan Peele has proven himself as one of Hollywood's most exciting mainstream directors working today, capable of bringing original spectacle both with his limited budget horror/thrillers and in his new blockbuster-scale efforts. Embedded in all of his films is a Hitchcockian style mystery box, a purposeful sense of a withholding from his audience, that makes every single one of his releases feel like a special, communal cinematic event.

Up until its release, we have gleaned from trailers and posters that the general threat of "Nope" involved some otherworldly alien creatures, but Peele kept his cards close to his chest — the exact shape and form they take place in the narrative was up for every audience member to figure out for themselves. As true summer blockbusters should be, the film was a must-see and a conversation starter.

For "Nope" star Keke Palmer, one of the things she admired most about working with Peele was his dedication to keeping that mystery alive, even for the actors working directly on the film with him. In an interview with The Playlist for the Blu-ray release of the film, Palmer praised Peele's ability to give his actors what they need without overexplaining his vision.

Keke Palmer praises Jordan Peele ability to shock and surprise

Palmer's co-star, Brandon Perea agreed with Palmer's sentiments, emphasizing that Peele always left an air of mystery on set. In Perea's experience, Peele's direction for him involved knowing the main theme of the film, and extracting his own needs from that broader message. "His main point was spectacle and kind of leaving it at that. Perea explained, "'Look, spectacle, the dangers of that, how other people deal with it,' and you kind of just depict your own description of how it all comes together."

Palmer took Perea's statement even further, complimenting Peele's opaque qualities. "I love that you never even ruined the movie for your actors, though," Palmer said to Peele. "That's really classy, and I don't know how you do it."

Peele's reaction to Palmer's praise was unexpected and humble. He didn't really know where Palmer was coming from, so he asked her to elaborate.

"You don't ruin the movies for us. Like you tell us just what we need to know in terms of your directing. Like you direct the entirety of it, but you only let us know what we need to know to get the performance we need to get. So, when I watch the movie, I get to watch it like an audience member because I don't really know what everything meant because you didn't tell me. You just told me what I needed to know. It's really crazy. Like, so when I'm hearing you say that, I'm like, I appreciate that you didn't ruin the movie for me."

Jordan Peele loves to give his actors room for collaboration

Though appreciative of Palmer and Perea's praise, Peele has his own thoughts on his process that differs from theirs. He never intentionally tries to keep his actors in the dark about his vision, but rather is subtly guiding them to add their own flourishes. "You know, I don't even think of it as being sort of withholding or anything with my actors," Peele explained. "But when I'm working with one of my actors, I'm really thinking of it as a process where we're both learning together, and I hold the keys to some of the answers, and she holds the keys to the rest of it."

It's possible both Palmer and Peele are right, and their high respect of each other as individual artists is why they're the perfect duo. Palmer's screen presence in "Nope" is infinitely charismatic, one of the best aspects of an already strong film. The way she energetically bounces off of her co-star Daniel Kaluuya is both fun to watch and in their most standout moments, emotionally fulfilling as well.

Not much is known about Peele's next directorial effort, but we'd like to hope this is not the last we've seen of Palmer and Peele. Perhaps they can form a wonderful trio with Kaluuya (Peele's De Niro) to keep us entertained and thrilled for years to come.