The Sounds In One Of Nope's Scariest Scenes Were Inspired By A TikTok Meme

There's no telling where inspiration may strike on a major Hollywood production — and that goes double for a Jordan Peele movie. Although each and every one of his first three features so far have dealt with completely different material and themes (although there's some fascinating common threads between "Get Out," "Us," and "Nope," as well), one similarity they all share happens to be the breadth and depth of influences that they all pull from. "Get Out" managed to pull together several disparate pop culture and political/social mores from the 2010s and unite them in as impressive (and thematically on-point!) a filmmaking debut as you'll ever see. "Us" borrowed from home invasion tropes, the real-life underground network system in the United States, and the always-disturbing doppelgänger phenomenon to bury its way underneath our skin and leave us with a messy (but unforgettable) experience. And "Nope," of course, brought in the ubiquitous UFO myth to help tell a story all about the idea of being "othered" and exploited.

But that's not the full extent of the inspirations that went into "Nope." In addition to its thoughts on spectacle and that deceptively insightful subplot about a chimpanzee, at least one significant aspect of Peele's latest hit film found its origins from a thoroughly unexpected source: TikTok. Who would've thought!

Read on for all the spoilery details.

'A year ago, there was this thing on TikTok...'

Of all the things to talk about with a new movie, chances are the sound design won't end up near the top of the list for most people ... but Jordan Peele isn't most people. Not only does "Nope" thrill, scare, and disturb in equal measure, but it also derived tension out of its sound design — whether it be the bits of metal and other objects falling from the sky or the UFO itself. 

In an interview with /Film's Jack Giroux, sound designer Johnnie Burn detailed how a viral TikTok meme factored into one of the movie's most unsettling moments.

"The barn sequence, when OJ first encounters the aliens, in the barn. So we tried that with the score, but then one of my teammates added sprinkler sounds from where the film starts. You see the sprinkler, and so we used that, and obviously it's envisioned that the sprinklers are on, you can't just see them [in that scene]. We kind of heightened that and made the sound of the sprinklers become a tense rhythm. A year ago, there was this thing on TikTok my daughter was showing me, with the "save the turtles" thing, that was a meme or something and it sounded really weird, but my daughter was doing that and it sounded a bit like the sprinklers. So, I recorded her doing that and then cut the S's out, and then it sounded really weird. It sounded like the alien kids were riffing off the environment that they were in, sound-wise, to sound convincing like an alien together, to scare OJ."

Let it be known: The next time you go viral online, be aware that you just might find yourself influencing the next big movie.