On Location: In ‘Nope,’ Jordan Peele Brings Otherworldly Horror to a Stretch of Californian Desert

Condé Nast Traveler


For a great deal of Jordan Peele’s new thriller Nope, 1 detail is crystal clear: There’s one thing mistaken in Agua Dulce. In this ranch-speckled stretch of desert, OJ and Emerald Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer, respectively) are the proprietors of a Hollywood horse-dealing with business—but a string of mysterious occasions swiftly upend the daily rhythm of their life.

Irrespective of whether you have presently found the movie or not, the remarkable desert shots beg a several concerns: What exactly is happening in Agua Dulce? And in which is this place?

You can have to enjoy the film for the answer to the very first, but the latter will direct you to straight inland California. Located just north of Los Angeles, authentic-lifestyle Agua Dulce and the neighboring city of Santa Clarita had been chosen by Peele and manufacturing designer Ruth De Jong (the two also collaborated on Us) for its genuine residents—animal wranglers like the Haywoods—as effectively as a Hollywood historical past much lusher than the barren landscape may possibly allow on. We sat down with De Jong to listen to much more about generating the world of Nope, from the ranch exactly where much of the movie requires area, to the abutting roadside topic park operate by Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun).

Steven Yeun’s character, Ricky “Jupe” Park, runs a Western concept park in Agua Dulce, California. 

©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Was Nope filmed solely in Agua Dulce?

We were in Santa Clarita and Agua Dulce, kind of on the border. We observed a pair of ranches that had been connected, and we constructed both of the sets from the floor up. The principal home looks straight into the valley, and when figures cross among the properties—whether they’re in a vehicle or on a motorcycle or horseback—they’re in fact performing so. It is not a cheat where by we were being chopping, it was all functional, practical, and real: 360-diploma usability. The only CGI is in the sky.

It was so incredible to be in a position to generate every thing we wanted precisely how we desired, and then marry them and have their proximity be so close. It made the full design and style course of action really fluid with Jordan [Peele]. I enjoy environment-developing, when you can construct on spot as opposed to a soundstage, and be outdoors. It is a whole lot of enjoyment.

Inform me about the topic park operate by Steven Yeun’s character. In which did the concept for that arrive from?


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