How Jordan Peele’s Horror-Epic 'Nope' Is a Love Letter to IMAX

'Nope'Credit: Universal Pictures
The horror auteur's third feature film is getting the IMAX treatment for a good reason. 

Jordan Peele’s most ambitious upcoming feature film Nope is unlike any other of his films. This bigger adventure is complemented by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema’s dynamic and naturalistic visual language that reminds us of something familiar yet distant. 

Nope follows California ranch-owning siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer) as they attempt to capture video evidence of an unidentified flying object that affects humans’ and animals’ behavior. This larger-than-life story could only be made for the big screen, which meant filming on a camera that was designed to fully immerse the audience.

Peele mentions in a brand-new featurette that Nope is all about spectacle, visually and thematically, and elaborates that this can only be achieved with IMAX. The film is specifically made to be seen in IMAX, making it the first “horror epic” filmed with the legendary 15/65mm cameras for the larger and wider IMAX screens. 

Check out the featurette here!

IMAX and Nope

In the featurette, we see sleek IMAX cameras fixed to helicopters as they create a dust storm surrounding their Santa Clarita set, swallowing the beautiful landscape and immersing the audience with these overwhelming images.

Peele states in the featurette, “I purposely wrote something without any regard to how possible it was.” Hoytema responded immediately to the great challenge set forth by Peele. 

Hoytema’s skill and use of IMAX cameras make Peele’s ambitions come to life, with Peele saying that Hoiytema was “the mastermind behind some of my favorite films and favorite imagery.” Multiple shots are taken from aerial views while others ride close to the earth on the heels of horses or motorcycles. 

“It was a very exhilarating ride. Always creative and fun, never scared and always pushing,” Hoytema says about his time on the production. “In the scope of what we could do, this was made for a big screen. We shot on IMAX cameras, and we were not shy of doing very extreme or crazy things with those cameras.” 

In an era of “high-brow” horror, Peele is leading that pack with his personal takes on the spectacle of horror.

“When you’re shooting on IMAX, you just know that you’re doing something cinematically special,” Peele says. “The image is so overwhelming it feels like you’re there. I wanted immersion, an awe, a fear, and a wonder we all had when we were kids.” 

Nope nods to the sci-fi horror films that dominated the 70s and 80s, plunging us into the fear of the unknown. It will be interesting to see how Peele’s biggest adventure to date translates with Hoytema’s breathtaking cinematography on IMAX. 

Nope lands in theaters on July 22. 

Let us know your thoughts on Peele’s Nope in the comments below!     

Your Comment


i'm happy for him that he can choose the tool for his storytelling, i like that horror genre can be elevate to A categories, i like a lot horror movies from when i was a child.
Shooting this movie in Imax seems to a gear gimnic, but it's ok, i hope this help more horror directors to see their stories on big screen (I am among them :-P).

July 23, 2022 at 10:14AM, Edited July 23, 10:15AM

Carlo Macchiavello
Director (with strong tech knowledge)

It's kinda annoying that other DPs are shut out from shooting on IMAX. Clearly hiring Hoyte was a safe option. Granted the guys work is beautiful, but I would like to see some new folks' vision. Kind of don't want to listen to the same musician all the freaking time....

July 23, 2022 at 9:36PM


Such a visionary, wearing his non n95 mask in the middle of the desert. Showman of our times.

July 25, 2022 at 6:19AM

Aaron Harper
Rental House Manager