Jordan Peele movies are often shrouded in secrecy, with Nope being no exception. While bits of the plot (involving capturing footage of aliens) have become clear, fans should still expect plenty of surprises from this anticipated summer blockbuster.
But one thing we can hold on to is that the cast of Nope is an exciting group of actors, including a Get Out reunion, the potential for a big screen breakout and some less familiar names with big roles.
Both of Peele’s previous two movies — Get Out and Us — received high praise for their casts. Who is going to join the ranks of Lupita Nyong’o in Us and Lil Rel Howry in Get Out for memorable performances in a Jordan Peele movie?
Here’s a breakdown of the main Nope cast:
Daniel Kaluuya as OJ Haywood
Daniel Kaluuya has had a meteoric rise over the last few years, which all started when he was cast as the lead in Jordan Peele’s first movie, Get Out. Kaluuya’s performance as Chris earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and put his name on the map in the US. He’d follow that up over the next few years with performances in Black Panther, Widows, Queen & Slim and Judas and the Black Messiah, the latter of which he received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Nope is a reunion between Kaluuya and Peele. In a cast feature, Kaluuya described his character of OJ Haywood as "the one who stayed" to run his family’s horse ranch in inland California, but the movie picks up as things start to unravel for him, partly because of the aforementioned aliens and partly because of the return of his sister, Emerald.
Keke Palmer as Emerald Haywood
Speaking of Emerald, she is being played by Keke Palmer. The singer turned actress has had some notable roles in the past, including TV series Scream Queens, Berlin Station, Star and some voice work on Big Mouth and its spinoff series Human Resources. On the big screen, Palmer has appeared in Hustlers and has already had a few movies in 2022, including the Sundance movie Alice and Pixar’s Lightyear. But Nope is her most high profile movie role to date.
Palmer’s role in Nope is going to allow the actress to go big, as Emerald is the charismatic sibling between her and her brother OJ. But as Palmer puts it, when the movie starts she doesn’t really know where she is going. She adds that the two characters’ relationship is close, but viewers may not truly see that until "s**t really hits the fan."
Steven Yeun as Ricky 'Jupe' Park
Steven Yeun may still best be known for dramatically taking a bat to the head as his character Glenn was killed off on The Walking Dead, but the actor has been busy since his time has ended on the long-running AMC zombie series. Among some of his big roles post Walking Dead are Okja, Sorry to Bother You, Burning, Space Jam: A New Legacy and The Humans, as well as voice work on animated series like Voltron: Legendary Defender, Final Space, Tuca & Bertie and Invincible. His biggest role, however, was his Oscar-nominated performance in Minari.
In Nope, Yeun plays Ricky "Jupe" Park, a former child actor that now owns Jupiter’s Claim, a California Gold Rush theme park. Fans can learn a little bit more about Jupiter’s Claim and Yeun’s character by visiting a website created for the theme park.
Nope marks the second time that Yeun and Jordan Peele have worked together, as Yeun appeared in an episode of the rebooted The Twilight Zone series on Paramount Plus.
Brandon Perea as Angel Torres
Nope is likely to be the first time that many movie fans see Brandon Perea. The young actor previously appeared in the Netflix series The OA and had a guest role on the HBO Max original series Doom Patrol.
Angel Torres is an employee at an electronic store who is brought on by OJ and Emerald to try and get actual footage of aliens. As Perea describes him in an interview, "Angel is just knowledgeable in a lot of random things. He’s kind of that type of dude where he’s knowledgeable in metal music, video games, films and aliens. He’s just that dude that’s chilling back, listening to a podcast, smoking a little bit, having a good time and just trying to learn. He’s just wired like that."
Michael Wincott as Antlers Holst
Even if you don’t recognize the name Michael Wincott, you’ve likely seen him before in some of your favorite TV shows or movies. Having worked since the late 70s, Wincott has starred in The Doors, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Three Musketeers, The Crow, Dead Man, Along Came a Spider, 24: Live Another Day and Westworld (season 1).
In Nope, Wincott is playing Antlers Holst, who joins up with OJ and Emerald to help capture footage of the aliens hovering around their ranch, bringing his experience as both a director and a UFO believer.
Who else is in Nope
Details are scarce on the rest of Nope’s cast of characters, but here is who is playing who in the movie:
- Wrenn Schmidt (For All Mankind) as Amber Park
- Keith David (The Thing) as Otis Haywood Sr.
- Barbie Ferreira (Euphoria) as Nessie
- Donna Mills (General Hospital) as Bonnie Clayton
- Eddie Jeminson (Ocean’s 11) as Buster
- Devon Graye (Dexter) as Ryder Muybridge
- Tom Notary (War for the Planet of the Apes) as Gordy
- Jennfier LaFleur (Search Party) as Phyllis Mayberry/Margaret Houston
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.