“That’s the idea,” Peele said in January, when he confirmed the news to CBS. “Daniel Day-Lewis and I are both out. Acting is just nowhere near as fun for me as directing.”
On Saturday evening, while accepting a D.G.A. Award for best first-time director, Peele revealed that it wasn’t simply the smash success of Get Out that caused him to retire from onscreen work. There is a totally unrelated project to blame.
“The Emoji Movie actually helped me quit acting,” Peele confessed at the podium. “I was offered the role of Poop.”
He paused to assure the audience inside the Beverly Hilton ballroom, “This is true. I would not make this up.”
When Peele’s manager told him about the offer, Peele responded, “That’s fucked up.” Then, after a beat. “I’m going to sleep on it.”
The next day, Peele said he called his manager back to see, just out of curiosity, what the studio was offering to pay him. But Peele’s window for the degrading opportunity had already closed.
“[My manager said], ‘They’ve already given it to Sir Patrick Stewart.’ I was like, ‘Fuck this.’”
So why would Peele bring up The Emoji Movie so suddenly, when accepting an award from his revered peers?
Probably because the ceremony’s host Judd Apatow triggered the memory during his monologue. Speaking about the necessity for more female filmmakers, Apatow said, “When you have women directors you get Lady Bird, Mudbound, and Wonder Woman. When you have male directors you get The Emoji Movie. . .with a character who is a literal piece of shit.”
So what non-acting projects does Peele have in the works?
The filmmaker, who happened to be sitting near a certain Murder, She Wrote legend in the audience, joked, “For what it’s worth, I just signed Angela Lansbury to the sequel. Get Out 2: Driving Miss Rosy. Angela plays the love interest but she also does the voice of the teacup.”
Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Julie MillerJulie Miller is a Senior Hollywood writer for Vanity Fair’s website.