in movies

What was up with that Asian guy in ‘Get Out’?

[This post contains SPOILERS for Get Out]

Ranier Maningding, writing for NextShark, on the appearance of a random Asian guy about halfway through Jordan Peele’s Get Out:

The inclusion of the Asian character was a powerful message, but why did Jordan Peele add one? Why not five? If subtlety was the objective, then one Asian character was enough, but I don’t think Peele was trying to be discreet about his commentary on Asians. Instead, the decision to cast one Asian guy mimicked the actual demographics of Asians in America.

According to the Pew Research Center, Asian-Americans make up 5.8% of the country. Compared to Black Americans who stand at 13.3%, Asians are even more of a demographic minority. By adding one solitary Asian character, Peele highlights the fact that even though Asians are outnumbered by Black folks, we still take on the role as oppressors by standing on the side of white supremacy and anti-Blackness.

I think Maninding’s take on this is plausible. That being said, some of the choices in Get Out seem pretty deliberate only in retrospect (see this explanation from The LA Times of that creepy “milk scene” in the film). In fact, Peele has already said in an interview that this gentleman was a reference to Rosemary’s Baby:

There were so many little things that I got from Rosemary’s Baby. It begins with [sings the creepy music that plays over the opening credits], which showed me that the way to start a horror movie is to give people a hint of where it’s going to go. Even if you move away from that menacing tone for a bit, people know it’s coming back. There’s also a party sequence in Get Out that pays homage to the Japanese character who turns up at the end of Rosemary’s Baby. It’s a scary turn in that film because when you see that guy, you realize this is not just a group of run-of-the-mill, Upper West Side devil worshippers. It’s an international cult.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting interpretation and I wish I’d commented on this during our review of Get Out.

(Thanks to Jeremy Wainwright for linking me to the Peele interview)