Jordan Peele has a whole lot to say with his movies, so it’s only natural that their home video releases are packed with special features that dig deep into Peele’s mind. Unlike Get Out, sadly, the 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD releases of Peele’s new horror film Us don’t come with an audio commentary track, but a meaty bonus features package makes up for that.
There’s around an hour of bonus contents included with Us, with various featurettes like “The Duality of Us,” “The Monsters Within Us,” and “Tethered Together: Making Us Twice” filling out the bulk of that package. These featurettes, I was pleased to discover, get pretty in-depth about the movie, with Peele himself explaining a whole lot about what he was trying to say with the various themes, images and motifs. Peele touches upon everything from the inspiration behind Red’s movements and behaviors (spoiler: cockroaches!) to the reasons why he views Us as something of a “dark Easter” tale. Some of the featurettes re-use footage and a few quotes from Peele, but they’re all a must-watch if you want to dig deeper into the movie.
“I don’t see myself moving far from horror any time soon,” Peele even notes during one of the featurettes, which is needless to say an exciting promise for fans of Get Out and Us.
There are also six deleted scenes – one featuring a nice moment between Gabe and Zora that would’ve been nice to see in the movie – as well as a pretty wonderful outtakes reel called “We’re All Dying” that shows how much fun Winston Duke and Tim Heidecker had improvising on set. But it’s “Becoming Red” that wins the award for best bonus feature on the Us Blu-ray.
Running 4-minutes long, “Becoming Red” takes you behind the scenes of Us and sheds some light on Lupita Nyong’o‘s incredible performance as Red, the film’s primary antagonist. As it turns out, Nyong’o stayed in character all day whenever she was tasked with playing Red rather than Adelaide, and cameras captured her between takes for this featurette.
Nyong’o had told Ellen earlier this year that she went to “very dark places” in order to embody Red, and “Becoming Red” lets you become a fly on the wall of that intense process. The previously-unseen footage shows Nyong’o doing anything-but relaxing between takes, staying in character to such an extent that there are often tears streaming down her face when she herself isn’t actually even shooting a scene. It’s mesmerizing to watch Nyong’o sink deeper and deeper into Red’s headspace; even talking to Peele, her voice is Red’s rather than her own.
If you’ve seen Us, you already know that Nyong’o damn sure deserves an Oscar nomination for her dual performance as Adelaide and Red, and “Becoming Red” is a compelling little companion piece that helps you better understand the “very dark places” she had to step into in order to deliver such a next-level chilling performance as Red, in particular. It provides a level of insight that simply couldn’t have been properly conveyed in an interview; actually *seeing* Nyong’o transform into Red right before your eyes is quite something to behold.
Here’s hoping the Academy was actually paying attention this time…