Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family.
After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers, Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway. Us pits an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves.
Set in present day along the iconic Northern California coastline, Us, from Monkeypaw Productions, stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson, a woman returning to her beachside childhood home with her husband, Gabe (Black Panther’s Winston Duke), and their two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex) for an idyllic summer getaway.
We were on the scene at the New York City premiere where we talked to some of the film’s stars on the red carpet.
The Knockturnal: Talk about your characters in the film. There’s a lot of twinning going on. Without giving top much away, talk about working with Jordan and how you guys got to be in the movie.
Cali & Noelle Sheldon: Well, our characters are Becca and Lindsey Tyler. Honestly, we’re just brats. We’re privileged, but we don’t want to admit it, but we know it. And working with Jordan and the rest of the cast was absolutely amazing. Obviously, they’re all such inspirational people and such amazing actors, so getting to work with them and actually interact with them and get tips from them was really, really inspiring.
The Knockturnal: In the movie, you guys deal with some doubles. How did that work on the screen? Tell us the movie magic behind that.
Cali & Noelle Sheldon: Well, we had photo doubles who would be in our place, and then at one point I was there for Callie. So then they would edit it together, which took a lot of time to film one scene, because you had to both people, but it was pretty cool because they somehow changed it to be two of us, which is just freaky.
The Knockturnal: Speaking of freaky, what was your first reaction to the script. I saw the movie, I was freaked out and I loved it. What was your reaction to it?
Cali & Noelle Sheldon: We both read it in one night. We got it at midnight and we stayed up really late reading it, and just, my jaw was on the floor. It was just incredible to read it, and then even more incredible to see it on screen and to see how it turned out. It’s really cool.
The Knockturnal: What do you think people are going to take away after they see the movie? There are so many messages going on in a film.
Cali & Noelle Sheldon: I honestly think that everyone is going to take away a little bit of a different message from it. Obviously, that you are your own worst enemy is kind of the central theme of it, but there are so many different layers that everyone can understand individually … an individual is going to have to see that for themselves.
The Knockturnal: Congratulations on tonight. You were so good in the film, so scary. What did Jordan tell you to channel that inner, vicious look you have?
Shahadi Wright Joseph: You know, he would really just come up to me and he would just be like, “Okay, time to go into Umbrae.” And I’d be like, “Okay.” And I’d take my little time to really just get into my character. We would just hit it.
The Knockturnal: In the movie, you’re running a lot. There was a lot of action. How was preparing for that?
Shahadi Wright Joseph: My dad and I actually worked out together for the whole two months that we were shooting at the gym. We would run on the track. It was a lot of fun. A good excuse to get into shape.
The Knockturnal: Talk about working with Lupita.
Shahadi Wright Joseph: I definitely learned a lot from Lupita, just because she spooked me out so much just on set. But I definitely learned from her and her method acting. It was a lot of fun and I think that I’ll definitely use that in the future.
The Knockturnal: Was it surreal working with Jordan and what did you take away from working with him?
Shahadi Wright Joseph: I loved working with him and I definitely want to work with him again. He’s really goofy and playful, but he created such a great environment for all of us to work in and just bond as a family.
The Knockturnal: There are a lot of tough themes in the film.
Shahadi Wright Joseph: I think that I really didn’t get the message until like a week ago. Jordan hasn’t really talked about it much until we were at South by Southwest. As we know, the theme is that we are our own worst enemy.
The Knockturnal: So you think that’s the message people will take away after they see the film?
Shahadi Wright Joseph: Oh, definitely. He said that we, as humans, are somehow scared of the other, so sometimes we just need to look in the mirror and see that the monster is really us.
The Knockturnal: Where were you when you got the call you were going to be in Us?
Tim Heidecker: I was shooting a TV show that’s not come out yet, so that’s a problem, because that’s a year ago, and yeah, I got a call that Jordan wanted to meet with me about his movie, and he came by our set and just said, “Hey, I got this movie that I’ve got a part for you in.” And I was like, “Well, who do I need to audition for?” He’s like, “No. If you want it, it’s yours.” I was like, “Oh, wow.” So that was it.
The Knockturnal: You were working with so many great talents, Lupita, Winston, Elisabeth. Talk about working with all these amazing people.
Tim Heidecker: I’m just looking for amazing people here. I thought I saw Glenn Close, but it wasn’t her. They’re all so great. They were all really warm and welcoming and we had a lot of fun. It was a pleasure.
The Knockturnal: In the film, you come face-to-face with your inner demon. Talk about channeling that inner part of yourself and how did you get that across the screen?
Tim Heidecker: Well, it’s a technical medium, so it was a lot of hair, make-up and finding certain looks and sounds that were going to be appropriate, and trial and error and little bit. Not a lot of psychological examination or anything like that.
The Knockturnal: That’s good. What was your reaction to the script when you first read it?
Tim Heidecker: Oh, I was like, “Wow, scary and bold and big.” Big swing that he managed to pull off. It could be a bad movie, but it’s not. Somebody else could take that script and make a really bad movie, and it doesn’t happen.