Get Out was one of the best and most thought-provoking films of the year, and as it begins what I’m sure will be a successful journey through awards season one of its stars, Allison Williams, was on Late Night with Seth Meyers talking about the film. One of the most interesting things she brought up was the response of white audiences to her character. **SPOILERS beyond this point if you haven’t seen the film.**
Williams and Meyers start the discussion with some behind the scenes insight from the film. Namely, that whenever the material got too heavy, director Jordan Peele would direct his cast as Obama. When that got stale (or when even that got depressing as Obama got closer to leaving office), Peele would direct as Tracy Morgan instead.
God, I wish I could’ve been on that set!
Anyway, the conversation gets spoiler-stastic real fast. So fast that Meyers, knowing that they can’t talk about certain things without spoilers, puts a spoiler warning up on the screen, telling those who want to avoid them to turn the sound down until the warning comes down.
Meyers gets into Williams’ character, Rose Armitage who, if you’ve seen the movie, turns out to be the most heinous and racist of villains, colluding with the rest of her family in a plot to kill unsuspecting black people so they can use their bodies to prolong the lives of wealthy white people.
Having done events and Q&As for the film, Williams has had a lot of opportunities to interact with audiences, and there’s one far-too-hopeful response to her character that she’s been shocked to receive:
“They’d say ‘she was hypnotized, right?’ And I’m like, no! She’s just evil! How hard is that to accept? She’s bad! We gave you so many ways to know that she’s bad! She has photos of people whose lives she ended behind her! The minute she can, she hangs them back up on the wall behind her. That’s so crazy! And they’re still like, ‘but maybe she’s also a victim?’ And I’m like, NO! No! And I will say, that is one hundred percent white people who say that to me.”
This is exactly why, even though there are some definitely comedic moments in it, Get Out is a horror film that is also a drama. People like Rose Armitage not only exist, but do real damage. The horror movie plot points might not be real, but the characters themselves are not satirical. Racism exists, very often in the most benign-looking places. That is what makes Get Out so very frightening.
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