Universal and Jordan Peele are once again teaming up, this time for a remake of Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs.
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While it’s unclear what Jordan Peele’s next film as a director will be, Universal Pictures certainly wants to keep working with Peele. Peele has previously directed both Get Out and Us for the studio, and they recently made Candyman, which Peele is also producing. Now, Universal and Peele are teaming up for a remake of Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs.
Wes Craven’s 1991 film The People Under the Stairs told the story of a boy and two criminals who break into a couple’s house and try to steal their rare coin collection. The trio becomes trapped by the odd couple, who call themselves Mommy and Daddy, and have kept other children in their basement. The film was seen as a satire of the late 80s and early 90s conservatism, with the couple in question being compared to Ronald and Nancy Reagan, although a review from LA Weekly compared the father of the family to Donald Trump. This type of political commentary seems right in line with Jordan Peele’s previous works.
Jordan Peele and Universal’s deals so far have been nothing but successes. 2017’s Get Out made over $255 million worldwide, working against a budget of only $4.5 million. While his 2019 film Us had a slightly larger budget, with $20 million, it also made $255 million worldwide. Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Studios also worked on the Candyman reboot, which was scheduled for release this year but was pushed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has been a particularly strong year for Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions. This year has already seen Monkeypaw Productions produce the newest season of CBS All Access’ The Twilight Zone reboot, the Al Pacino series Hunters for Amazon Video, and HBO’s Lovecraft Country.
In addition to The People Under the Stairs and Candyman for next year, Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions has also helped make Wendell and Wild. The latest stop-motion animated film from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline director Henry Selick was also co-written by Selick, alongside Peele and his frequent collaborator Keegan-Michael Key. The film has been purchased by Netflix for a 2021 release.
The People Under the Stairs will be the first remake of Wes Craven’s work since the actor died in 2015. Yet before his death, Craven was rebooting The People Under the Stairs as a new series for Syfy. The show was described as “Downton Abbey meets Amityville Horror,” and was written by Michael Reisz, who wrote for CBS’ Unforgettable. The People Under the Stairs was just one of the three projects Craven was working on before his death, but if this film reboot succeeds, maybe Jordan Peele can bring back this series concept.
While Wes Craven died before he ever got the chance to work with Jordan Peele, it seems both of their interests align quite nicely, as both were fans of mixing political messaging and commentary about the modern-day into their horror stories. Peele is already one of the most exciting producers, writers, and directors around today, so The People Under the Stairs seems like a perfect fit with Peele’s aesthetic.