Jordan Peele’s Nope is full of unexpected elements—including an alien that doesn’t look or act the way anyone thinks it will, and human characters who surprise us almost as much. One of the film’s biggest breakouts is Brandon Perea (The OA), who plays UFO enthusiast Angel Torres; ahead of Nope’s arrival on Blu-ray next week, io9 got a chance to ask him about his experience.
Angel enters the story as the Fry’s Electronics clerk who helps siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) install the camera equipment they suddenly need to capture what they suspect is an alien lurking over their ranch. Before long, he becomes part of their quest to catch the mysterious creature on film—while also amusing us with his love of Ancient Aliens and his impressive collection of noise-rock t-shirts. Peele was so taken with Perea’s interpretation of Angel that he actually re-wrote the character after he was cast.
“Originally Angel was more of a like happy-go-lucky dude, happy to do everything for them. But I was like, whenever I go to tech stores, I don’t really see anyone there that’s happy to be [working] there,” Perea told io9 over video chat. “So [I] just kind of brought this more depressed feeling to the character, and Jordan thought that was funny, so he rewrote Angel for more of that angsty vibe.”
As soon as Angel realizes what OJ and Em are doing with their new surveillance system, he can’t help himself from getting involved, for more reasons than one. “[Angel is] needing community. He’s not really close to his real family, and he’s fresh out of a relationship, so he needs some sort of companionship and he finds it in these strangers. He’s very hungry and eager for it. They’re not really hungry and eager for it, but they realize, ‘Ok, this kid can help us.’ There’s this bond that kind of forms organically. They’re all bonding over this spectacle and they all have different emotional relationships towards it, and they’re all kind of just working together for it. And working with actors like that, it’s just so easy to love them.”
Angel is decidedly UFO-curious, even before he sees hard evidence that aliens exist. Perea is not quite of the same mind, going by what he told us. “[Before Nope], I never really thought of the aspect of critters, which is kind of what Jean Jacket is—basically a predator, like a big alien life form out there. That kind of wigs me out to think about right now. The universe is ever expanding, so I am curious to what the hell is going on out there, but I’m kind of scared to do the research. Angel, he’s locked in, ready to do it. But me, Brandon—when it comes to actual extraterrestrial stuff, I’m like, I’ll leave it up to the professionals because I’m afraid of what I might find.”
With Halloween on the horizon, we had to quiz Perea on what his favorite scary movies are for this time of year. “The Conjuring really wigged me out and that’s something that I can rewatch. I’ve rewatched that film a lot. The first installment of Halloween is so sick, John Carpenter’s version. I don’t know—I just love all horror,” he said, before holding up a copy of the Nope Blu-ray and joking (but not really), “This year, watch this one!”
And you can, very soon! Nope hits 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD on October 25.
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