How Jordan Peele turned his fear into success
How Jordan Peele turned his fear into success

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How Jordan Peele turned his fear into success 02:56

Jordan Peele learned the power of scary stories around a campfire

Updated 1:57 PM ET, Thu February 22, 2018

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(CNN)"There is a need for stories that allow an audience to commune, to come together in a theater -- not just at home but a theater to experience something together -- and for stories that promote empathy and deal with these sort of untold truths."

Jordan Peele has always had what he describes as "a wild imagination."
When he was young, horror movies scared him to "a pretty ridiculous point." That is, until he learned the power in scary stories -- and all stories, for that matter.
"I remember one day ... my school did a school trip and at a campfire, I told a bunch of my fellow students a scary story and it worked," he said. "And I remember, in that moment, I felt like, 'Wow. What was my fear has kind of become my power' and wielding that artistry felt good."
Flash forward a couple of decades: Peele's film "Get Out" is nominated for four Oscars, including one for best picture.
"Get Out" is a genre-bending film about race that's equal parts scary and satirical, poignant and pointed.
It marked Peele's directorial debut -- a fact made even more impressive by the fact that it's a film that represents exactly the kind of art he wants to be making in these politically tumultuous times.
There is a need, he said, for stories that promote "empathy and deal with these sort of untold truths and also provide an escape and a fun time."
    "That's what I'm committed to doing."