What a couple of weeks it's been for Jordan Peele. Not content to smash the box office with The Twilight Zone., he's also launched his take on the classic TV show
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!"
The new version of the classic 1950s and 1960s fantasy anthology begins streaming on CBS All Access from April 1 (Disclosure: CBS is CNET's parent company). Amidst the outlandish twists there's turns from the likes of Seth Rogen, DeWanda Wise, Chris O'Dowd, Jessica Williams, John Cho, Kumail Nanjiani and Adam Scott.
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,, 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?"
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.