EXCLUSIVE: Flying to Hollywood, meeting Jordan Peele, chatting with Lupita Nyong'o, and getting the very first look at the hauntingly stunning masterpiece that is 'Us'

2019-03-29 07:05
 

Cape Town - Channel24 was invited to attend the Us international press junket in Los Angeles on 10 March, and had the opportunity to interview Oscar-winning writer and director Jordan Peele, Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex.   

I arrived at LAX, absolutely exhausted, on Sunday 10 March at 13:50 after a 26-hour flight from Cape Town International, not to mention the 2 hour and 45-minute layover in Dubai. 

But there was no time to get comfortable just yet, or for my body to adjust to the 9 hour time difference, as I had to check into The London West Hollywood in Beverly Hills, and grab a quick shower before heading to the Us screening at the TCL Chinese Theatre on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I was pleasantly surprised when I got upgraded to the Vista Suite, which boasts a private terrace offering stunning panoramic views of the iconic Hollywood Hills, oversized luxury bathroom (with soaking tub and dual shower head!) and Keurig coffee maker.

Channel24

After a quick shower and much-needed wardrobe change, off I went, together with other international media, to the theatre to watch Jordan Peele's highly anticipated horror flick Us

After drizzling my popcorn in buttery goodness, I took my seat to watch the screening with 200 other moviegoers, who were seeing the psychological thriller for the first time.     

I won't reveal too much about the movie, but weeks after seeing Us, I'm still disturbed by the movie's dark themes and "the others" we blame for our misfortune.

Us Screening

READ CHANNEL24'S FULL REVIEW HERE

The following day, I checked into Universal's hospitality suite at 10:45 at The London West Hollywood before being escorted to the waiting area for my first interview with Lupita Nyong'o.     

Being from South Africa, and knowing that Lupita has visited South Africa several times before, I asked her about what she loved most about the country. (Scroll up for full interview/click here)

"I would love to get to know it, aside from work. I love South African music, I love the people, and I have great South African friends. And I think the popular culture scene is very interesting," she explains. 

The four minutes allocated flew by, and I only managed to ask four of the ten questions I had written down. As I saw the producer from the corner of my eye holding up the "1-minute" sign, I hurriedly had to make a decision on which questions would be the most interesting to ask.

My next interview was with Jordan Peele. Honestly, he was the person I was looking forward to meeting the most, and the award-winning screenplay writer exceeded all my expectations. (Scroll up for full interview/click here)

As I walked into the interview room, Jordan got up from his chair to shake my hand. I was introduced to him as the "South African representative," to which he replied: "Wow, I would love to get down to South Africa sometime. Are you from Cape Town or Johannesburg?  

I was surprised at his genuine interest, and we ended up having a conversation about Cape Town's beautiful mountains, vineyards and beaches before the camera started rolling.

Los Angeles

Following our short interview about the "organic connection" - as he calls it, between comedy and horror, my next meeting was a joint interview with the youngest cast members 13-year-old Shahadi Wright Joseph and 10-year-old Evan Alex. (Scroll down for the full interview/click here)

Speaking about the atmosphere on set, Shahadi said: "It was really welcoming, as soon as you stepped on set you didn't really think of it as work and sometimes you would think about it as playing pretend with your friends." 

Evan said that Jordan inspired him to write his own horror film, saying it was effortless to talk to the acclaimed director, ask for advice and talk about his problems. 

The very last person on my interview list was Winston Duke, the most exciting part of our conversation was talking about the similarities between Winston and his character Gabe Wilson. (Scroll down for the full interview/click here)

"I think Gabe is very spontaneous like myself. Gabe has a really big heart. He loves hard, and he loves his family, and he'll do anything to protect them. And I see myself a lot in that."

And just like that, the whirlwind was over, and I had one more night left in the City of Angeles before starting the 26-hour journey back home - leaving with a full heart. 

(Photos: Channel24)

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