Jordan Peele isn't stopping after Twilight Zone and Us
Peele's co-conspirator Win Rosenfeld tells us what they've learned as they plan a reboot of classic horror movie Candyman.
Richard TrenholmFormer Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Of course, he hasn't done it alone. Everyone behind the scenes at Peele's production company Monkeypaw have been working hard on the movie, the TV show and assorted other projects -- including a reboot of classic horror movie Candyman. 2019 has been pretty intense, says Twilight Zone executive producer and Monkeypaw President Win Rosenfeld. "I need to go to Hawaii!" he jokes when we talk on the phone.
And what about Peele -- is he taking a break after dropping two of the year's biggest film and TV in a matter of weeks? Not likely: "This [creating things] is his Hawaii," says Rosenfeld. "This is his idea of fun. You can go for a sandwich with him and at the end of it you realize, wow that was an artistic experience!"
Peele directed Us and appears as the enigmatic narrator in each installment of The Twilight Zone, but his hands-on involvement behind the scenes varied by episode. Both Us and Twilight Zone present creepy tales of the unexpected that explore timely social themes. One of the opening episodes of the new Twilight Zone, The Comedian, looks at the price of fame and the dangers of over-sharing -- via the lens of a chilling horror story. Similarly, Us is an ambiguous story laden with open-ended subtext about modern society, told through the story of a family encountering terrifying doppelgangers. As Rosenfeld puts it, "If someone says your movie is like a feature-length Twilight Zone episode, I think that's a good thing."
The new Twilight Zone may include podcasts and smartphones, but that blend of horror and social unease was always present in the original show. Peele and his team wanted to stay true to the spirit of original creator and narrator Rod Serling's vision for the show. "If there was a tie or we had to decide something," says Rosenfeld, "we asked what would Rod Serling do?"
Watch this: Jordan Peele's Us gets a new trailer and it's terrifying
Us has shot past $175 million at the box office, but Peele and Monkeypaw aren't resting on their laurels. Other projects in the pipeline include Nazi-hunting drama The Hunt, sci-fi yarn Lovecraft Country and the aforementioned new version of 1992 horror film Candyman, directed by Nia DaCosta from a script by Peele and Rosenfeld.
As they set out to reboot this iconic movie, have they learned anything from re-imagining a TV classic? "Yes," says Rosenfeld emphatically. "Remember why you're doing it. Keep track of why you loved the thing you're rebooting or reimagining."
Candyman is set for release in 2010. Us is in theaters now, while the first two episodes of The Twilight Zone are streaming now on CBS All Access and will be followed by more installments on April 11.