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 for the New York City premiere where we talked to some of the film’s stars on the red carpet.
The Knockturnal: Talk about being a part of a positive black family on screen?
Winston Duke: It’s redefining what the all-American family looks like and can look like and should look like on-screen because we have all-American all over. You know what I mean? They are families of America, and just to be able to see that on-screen doing something that seems very normal in this genre is revolutionary, so it’s a pleasure.
The Knockturnal: Where were you when Jordan called you to tell you you’re doing Us?
Anna Diop: I was filming Titans, first season, in Toronto, freezing my ass off. It was the best news I had gotten in months. I was like, “Oh, yes. Back to L.A. Yeah.” Yeah, yeah, yeah.
The Knockturnal: You got to film with fellow D.C. star Yahya. Talk about working with him and the chemistry you guys had.
Anna Diop: He’s incredible. I first saw him in The Get Down and I had just always been curious about him since. And working with him just blew my mind. He’s so talented and I’m so excited for everything that he’s about to do. He’s killing it.
The Knockturnal: In the film, you play Lupita’s mom.
Anna Diop: I do. Everyone knows. I’m so surprised.
The Knockturnal: Did you talk to her on set at all?
Anna Diop: I did meet her on set and she’s just so lovely, and I’ve just always loved her from afar. So it wasn’t difficult to get into that. She’s lovely. She’s easy to love.
The Knockturnal: Jordan is such a master. He’s in his prime right now. Talk about working with Mr. Peele and what you took away from that.
Anna Diop: Just his kindness towards everyone on set. He’s such a kind, loving, positive person, and it’s just a testament to you don’t have to be a dick and you don’t have to be an asshole. You can be brilliant but also human and nice and lovely. So yeah, I think that’s what I took away most from that.
The Knockturnal: What was your reaction after watching the film and reading the script?
Anna Diop: I haven’t seen it yet. Jordan showed me like 40 minutes on set, but the script was out of control. I didn’t sleep that night after reading it. There’s so many layers to it, too. So like even while I’m filming, I’m like, “Oh, and this means that.” So many things are intertwined and connected and it’s insane.
The Knockturnal: What do you hope people take away after seeing it tonight?
Anna Diop: I don’t know. I cannot answer that. I think because it’s so layered, everyone’s going to come away with a different revelation and a different kind of perspective. You know? Yeah, I’m excited to hear the theories and I’m just excited to see what people think about it.
The Knockturnal: What was Jordan’s pitch to you about the film?
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II: For Jordan, this was the opportunity to come down there just to have a good time. I’m in the movie for that long, but he said, “Hey, come down, have a little bit of fun.” I’m not going to turn that down, right, a chance to go out and play with Winston and Lupita and my Yale crew and obviously Jordan.
The Knockturnal: And in the film, you’re married to your fellow DC star Anna. Talk about working with her?
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II: She’s so talented, so sweet, and she’s really one that she’s going to make you prepared. She’s going to make you come and bring your A-game and such a pleasure to work with.
The Knockturnal: In the film, you essentially play two people. Talk about channeling that other person.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II: Well, it’s just really about the imagination and about seeing what that other person wanted and how they move or how they talk. So it was all an exploration of fun and movement and all that other stuff. Yeah.
The Knockturnal: And then lastly, what do you think people are going to take away after they see this movie?
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II: Man, I don’t know. I think they’re going to take away so many different things. Some will be their theories, others will take away the comedy of it, will take away the horror. But I think that’s really the fun of it is that you get to see what every different opinion wants to be on this one, so I’m excited for it.