Jordan Peele finally explains Nope moment that left viewers scratching their heads

Jordan Peele has finally given fans an explanation for one of the most widely debated moments in his 2022 horror film Nope.

The film focuses on two siblings, played by Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer, who encounter a strange UFO near their ranch in Agua Dulce, California.

One of the other plot threads follows Ricky “Jupe” Park, a former child actor who once survived a deadly rampage by a crazed ape on the set of the (fictional) 1990s sitcom Gordy’s Home.

In a flashback, we see Ricky as a child hiding while the ape attacks his co-stars. What catches his attention, however, is a shoe – balanced perfectly upright.

Later, the shoe is seen displayed in Jupe’s secret Gordy’s Home tribute room, still in the upright position.

Fans had long speculated over the meaning of the upright show. Now, during an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Peele has finally shed some light on the symbolism.

“The shoe represents a moment where we check out of a trauma,” he said. “Jupe zones in on this little shoe – that’s Mary Jo’s shoe – that has landed in a precarious, odd situation, and this is the moment he dissociates.”

Daniel Kaluuya in ‘Nope’ (Universal)
Daniel Kaluuya in ‘Nope’ (Universal)

Peele also referred to another line in the film, in which Kaluuya and Palmer’s characters discuss the notion of a “bad miracle”.

“In one way, it’s the impossible shot. It’s the impossible moment... Yes, it’s a bad miracle. Very good. You got it. You got the shoe,” he told podcast host Josh Horowitz.

In a five-star review of the film for The Independent, Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “You could, certainly, make the argument that Nope is the most straightforward of Peele’s films so far. He’s traded the claustrophobic, labyrinthine quality of Get Out and Us for open skies and pure spectacle.

“But the genius of his work is that, in the end, none of that really makes any difference. He still gets the same results. Peele, really, is the magician disguised as a filmmaker. Nope is the sleight of hand so slick you’ll never question how the trick was pulled off.”