Get Out: Design of the Thriller

The production of Get Out took place in Mobile, Alabama, where Jordan Peele set up a team led by production designer Rusty Smith, cinematographer Toby Oliver, editor Gregory Plotkin, costume designer Nadine Haders, music supervisor Christopher Mollere and composer Michael Abels.

The film had its share of good-weather shooting between rain spells—and trying to keep the extras dry—and the general feeling of creating a project that was more than the sum of their parts permeated the production.

While the team faced many challenges—notably shooting in the dark corners of the Armitage house in the middle of the night—perhaps the most complex was the garden party sequences in which Logan attacks Chris.

Whitford sets up the scene: “This auction is the most important charity.  There are a lot of charities that deal with sickness, difficulties in the world, but what we’re supporting here is something that transcends illness.”

Haders outfitted the party guests in finery befitting a bespoke group of upper-crust members of the upstate New York elite.  Smith crafted a setting designed to make every single guest feel at ease…save the one member of the party who is certain he doesn’t belong with his odd hosts.  Each shot from Oliver was intended to amplify that feeling for Chris.  Even though everyone is genteel and patronizingly sweet to him, the menace lurks just outside every frame—as close-up shots of staring partygoers leer when they think Chris isn’t looking.

“It is a scene that is a great representation of what the movie is,” says Peele.  “It’s both a scary sequence, but also kind of funny.  Chris’ feeling of isolation at being the only black guy at the party is all over his face.  Everybody who speaks with Rose and Chris is bringing up their connection to the African-American culture.”

This moment struck a chord with many of the players.  “This happens in real life a lot,” states Peele.  “Chris is denied an experience where he’s anything but the token black guy.  That scene is a symbol for the deeper horrors going on.  At one point, Chris sees Logan at the party.  There’s a sigh of relief to see another African-American guy, but when Chris goes up to say what’s up, it becomes clear that Logan is not having the same experience as Chris is.  He is in this weird Stepford-zone, where he feels more aligned with the party than with Chris.”