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Jordan Peele on ‘Nope’ Set Becoming Universal Studios Attraction: ‘I’m Very Proud’ (Exclusive)

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Jordan Peele is known for bringing nightmares to the silver screen, but Nope dreams a little bigger and moviegoers will have the chance to actually step into the world of his latest horror entry.

The Oscar-winning director and Nope’s cast chatted with ET’s Rachel Smith at Universal Studios Hollywood, where the set of Jupiter’s Claim, a pivotal location in the movie, is becoming part of the iconic Studio Tour attraction.

“This is a piece of the Nope set that is a sort of mom-and-pop theme park owned by a former child star in the film, so it’s very meta,” Peele explains. “It’s on the Universal backlot tour and it’s the first time anything like this has happened, where the actual set is showcased as the movie is coming out.”

He adds, “I am very proud.”

As Peele noted, until Jupiter’s Claim, the debut of a Studio Tour attraction has never before opened day and date with the corresponding project’s release date. For some context, Jurassic Park – The Ride (now Jurassic World – The Ride) opened to the public three years after the film hit theaters, which at the time was even considered to have been expedited when compared with most drawing board to execution timelines.

The cast of 'Nope' arriving at the Los Angeles premiere.

In Nope, Emerald (Keke Palmer) and OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya) are a brother-sister duo of Hollywood horse trainers who encounter alien activity on their isolated ranch. “I wrote a script that was impossible. I brought it to people and they told me why it was impossible,” Peele remembers. “I was like, ‘Good. OK. Now, I know I am doing the right thing.’ And then I put together a team.”

Part of that behind-the-scenes ensemble included Ruth De Jong, the production designer for Peele’s sophomore outing, 2019’s Us. The sketch comedy star turned horror maestro was quick to share praise, telling ET that De Jong is “an amazing talent” who “put the world of Nope together.”

The impressive turnaround time is thanks in part to discussions kicking off at the onset of production, where Peele and producing partner Ian Cooper began collaborating with Universal Creative to conceptualize how best to integrate the set into the Studio Tour. After filming wrapped, De Jong worked closely with park developers to carefully disassemble the Jupiter’s Claim set and then meticulously reconstruct it on site.

Guests standing around the Studio Tour tram at Jupiter's Claim set at Universal Studios Hollywood.

During the interview, Peele took a moment to wave in the direction of passing guests on the Studio Tour tram. “I don’t know if they can tell it’s me or if they’re just waving because a person’s waving,” he jokes. “I have social anxiety and self-esteem issues. Even when a tram is going by and waving at me on my own set [at] Universal Studios — I still feel shame.”

Steven Yeun plays Ricky “Jupe” Park, the aforementioned former child star who owns and operates Jupiter’s Claim, which is described as “a family-fun theme park and predicated on the white-washed history and aesthetics of the California Gold Rush.” “I was just like, ‘What are we doing? This is so wild,’” Yeun tells ET of the first time he saw the scope of Nope’s production design. 

Universal Studios Hollywood isn’t new to building rides based on fictional theme parks. Jurassic World – The Ride portrays a shoot-the-chute attraction within the movie’s universe. And guests boarding The Simpsons Ride actually step onto a roller coaster at Krusty the Clown’s theme park, Krustyland. 

But over at Jupiter’s Claim, Peele hinted the recreated set is also embedded with a personal meta-narrative about Hollywood. “I am not going to say a lot, but in some ways [Ricky] kind of represents me and my relationship with the industry,” he shares.

The Lil Jupe inflatable at Jupiter's Claim.

For Yeun, he was surprised to discover the three-story blow-up figure of Ricky will — alongside USH’s spinning globe fountain and the all-seeing Minion — live on as one of the park’s landmark icons. “This was crazy,” he says of his cartoonish effigy. “I didn’t know we were going to have a 50-foot inflatable of Lil Jupe.”

Yeun adds, “I like coming back here. This is actually so trippy that this is going to be here permanently.”

As part of the Studio Tour, Peele also provides a video introduction as guests approach Jupiter’s Claim, which is positioned between views of the War of the Worlds wreckage and the ride’s grand finale, Fast & Furious – Supercharged. From the tram, guests can expect to see: colorful mock storefronts, era-appropriate townsfolk mannequins and carefully scattered props, big and small, along the curved street.

The 'Star Lasso Experience' on Jupiter's Claim set at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Some of the larger installations, like a set of bleachers from Ricky’s outdoor event that’s teased in the trailers, are seemingly microcosm-style recreations of important sequences from the movie. For a more interactive option, VIP Experience bookers can also exit the tram and discover additional nuances that went into the immersive placemaking of Jupiter’s Claim, as well as take selfies with the unsettling 49ers mannequins. 

Brandon Perea, who plays Fry’s Electronics technician Angel (“Five Stars!”) Torres, echoes his co-star’s sense of awe at the recreation. “It’s insane how well done it is,” he tells ET. “It just feels like I’m back at [Jupiter’s Claim].” 

As tram guides are quick to point out, the horror genre put Universal Pictures on the map and the studio continues double-downing on this legacy, in both their production slates and within the parks. Since 2017, Peele has seen his projects contribute to both. Following Get Out’s critical and box office success, he’s ushered in multiple films through his Monkeypaw Productions banner. Meanwhile, Us later set up shop as a haunted maze for Halloween Horror Nights.

The leaving marquee at Jupiter's Claim that says, 'So long cowboy' and 'Until we might again.'

With Nope, Peele says he’ll be satisfied if the movie’s discourse continues to thrive long after people leave the theater or, maybe, exit through the turnstiles. 

“I made a movie about spectacle. And human beings and our relationship to spectacle. I think that the conversation will be about the good and bad that comes with our absolute obsession, and addiction, to see often morbid, spectacular imagery all the time,” Peele shares. “That’s kind of what the movie is about and in its core DNA…  I can’t wait to hear what people think.”

Nope hits theaters July 22 and Jupiter’s Claim debuts as part of the World-Famous Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood the same day.

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Jafar Panahi Goes on Hunger Strike to Protest Still Being in Jail After His Sentence Has Been Overturned

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Jafar Panahi has gone on a hunger strike to protest being still held in Tehran’s Evin prison even though Iran’s supreme court has overturned the conviction that led to the dissident director’s detention.

Panani has issued a statement from prison saying that to protest against the “illegal and inhumane” treatment by the Islamic Republic’s judiciary and security forces and their “hostage-taking” he will stop eating, drinking, and taking his medications until “maybe my lifeless body would be released from this prison.”

The statement announcing Panahi’s decision to go on a hunger strike was posted by Panahi’s wife Tahereh Saeedi and son Panah Panahi on their Instagram accounts.

Panahi, 62, is known globally for prizewinning works such as “The Circle,” “Offside,” “This is Not a Film,” “Taxi,” and most recently “No Bears,” winner of last year’s Venice’s Special Jury Prize. He was arrested last July in Tehran in the wake of the country’s conservative government crackdown. Panahi had been there to visit Tehran’s prosecutor’s office to follow up on the situation of fellow dissident filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulov, who had been incarcerated a few days earlier after signing an appeal against police violence.

Since his arrest, Panahi’s lawyers in October managed to successfully overturn the six-year sentence issued against the director in 2010 for “propaganda against the system,” in Iran’s highest court according to Panahi’s lawyer, Saleh Nikhbakht. That sentence has become obsolete due to the country’s 10-year statute of limitations and Panahi’s case has been sent to an Iranian court of appeals. But the directors’ wife and laywers say that Iranian security are now forcing the judiciary to keep him behind bars.

Rasoulov and Panahi’s imprisonment took place before the wave of protests sparked in September by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was held in custody for allegedly wearing a loose hijab. Those protests have caused more than 500 civilians to be killed by government security forces and more than 100 members of the Iranian film industry to be arrested or banned from making movies.

On Jan. 4, Iranian authorities released Taraneh Alidoosti, the star of Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning film “The Salesman,” almost three weeks after she was jailed for criticizing a crackdown on the anti-government protests.



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Five Nights At Freddy’s Movie Finally Begins Filming With First BTS Image

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Jason Blum has officially confirmed that the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie has begun filming, posting a behind-the-scenes photo to Twitter.


The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie has finally begun filming after a long period in development limbo. A now-massive horror franchise, Five Nights at Freddy’s first began as a video game created by Scott Cawthon in 2014. The game was met with critical acclaim for bringing something new to the horror video game genre and would go on to spawn eight subsequent games, and dozens of spinoffs. The Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise has continued rapidly expanding since the first game’s release, and now includes several book series, comic books, board games, and merchandise. In July 2015, it was first announced that there were plans to create a Five Nights at Freddy’s film, with Blumhouse Productions announcing their involvement in 2018.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

After a years-long development period, the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie has officially begun filming, with a behind-the-scenes image posted to Jason Blum‘s Twitter account. Check out the post below:

The image, which is simply captioned “Day 1 #FNAF,” shows several monitors displaying camera footage of a clapboard that reads the film’s working title, Bad Cupcake. On one of the monitors, an action figure of Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach‘s villain Vanny can be seen.


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Though it’s not yet clear if the film will follow the plot of any Five Nights at Freddy’s game in particular, the movie’s script and premise has changed several times since its 2015 announcement. In January 2017, after two years of development, Cawthon stated that the production was “back at square one” after setbacks and difficulties within the film industry. After Blumhouse signed on in 2018, the film was slated for a hopeful 2020 release. Later in August 2018, however, Cawthon announced that the script had been completely scrapped. Development on Five Nights at Freddy’s was largely silent throughout the pandemic, and only in 2022 did updates begin to come more regularly.

In August 2022, Blum posted teasers from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the company set to build the film’s animatronics. In December, it was announced that Matthew Lillard and Josh Hutcherson had been cast in unknown roles. It has been reported that Lillard will be playing William Afton, the major antagonist of the Five Nights at Freddy’s games, while Hutcherson will be playing Mike Schmidt, the overnight security guard that players take the role of in first game. However, there has been no official confirmation of these roles.

Since Blum released the first behind-the-scenes look at Five Nights at Freddy’s, it seems that the working title Bad Cupcake could be in reference to Chica’s cupcake, which appears in three of the games. The other question is if the Vanny action figure standing on top of the monitors could be a hint to Vanessa’s character appearing in the film, or if the character behind the clapboard on the monitors could be Lillard’s Afton. Though there are still plenty of questions surrounding the upcoming Five Nights at Freddy’s movie, at least there is finally forward movement on the project after spending years in development hell.

Source: Jason Blum/Twitter



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James Mangold in Early Talks to Direct ‘Swamp Thing’ for DC Studios

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Plans have begun to formulate for James Gunn and Peter Safran’s slate of DC Studios films, with filmmaker James Mangold in early talks to take on “Swamp Thing.”

Sources tell Variety that Mangold is a longtime fan of the DC Comics supernatural hero and approached Gunn and Safran with his idea for the forthcoming project.

Of course, Mangold is a comic book veteran after writing, directing and executive producing the R-rated superhero movie “Logan,” the third “Wolverine” film starring Hugh Jackman, which is regarded as the pinnacle of the “X-Men” movie franchise. However, the filmmaker has a particularly busy dance card, with “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” set to hit theaters in May and Searchlight’s Bob Dylan biopic “A Complete Unknown,” starring Timothée Chalamet, up next.

News of Mangold’s interest in “Swamp Thing” comes just 24 hours after Gunn and Safran announced the first 10 film and TV titles within the rebooted DC Universe on Tuesday morning. The co-chiefs explained that these films make up Chapter 1 of the DCU, which they are calling “Gods and Monsters.”

During the presentation, Safran said that the film will “investigate the dark origins” of the DC Comics character through the prism of horror.

“This is a much more horrific film, but we’ll still have Swamp Thing interact with the other characters,” Gunn added, making a reference to the introduction of Rocket Raccoon to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the “Guardians of the Galaxy films. “That mashup quality,” of having that character interacting with live-action players like Thor, he explained, ended up working out beautifully.

On Tuesday evening, following the project’s official announcement, Mangold posted an image of Swamp Thing to Twitter and Gunn retweeted the post, which got comic book fans buzzing that a collaboration might be in the works.

Swamp Thing was created by writer Len Wein and horror artist Bernie Wrightson (whose artwork is featured in Mangold’s tweet) and first appeared in a standalone story in 1971’s “House of Secrets No. 92,” followed by a popular run under Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben in the 1980s. The DC Comics character first appeared on the big screen in 1982’s “Swamp Thing,” directed by horror master Wes Craven, and most recently headlined a short-lived series created by Gary Dauberman and Mark Verheiden for the DC Universe streaming service in 2019. He also appeared in Season 3 of HBO Max’s animated series “Harley Quinn,” as a vegan, health-nut voiced by Sam Richardson.

The Hollywood Reporter was first to report news of Mangold’s involvement in the project. Warner Bros. did not comment on the reports.

Mangold is repped by WME, Entertainment 360, and Sloane Offer.

Additional reporting by Adam B. Vary.



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