Is ‘Nope’ based on a true story? The film’s true elements


Jordan Peele’s horror films are rarely what they seem; his latest offering – Nope, starring Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer – is no different. Most cinema halls are deathly quiet as the credits roll as viewers try to understand what they’ve just watched. Peele’s film is multilayered, with several storylines developing in tandem with the main narrative. 

The film has left viewers with more questions than answers. This piece attempts to answer one of them: whether Nope is based on a true story. 

Nope is fictional but has some aspects of truth

The events in Nope are entirely fictional, but the film has some elements of truth. Jordan Peele told ABC News that the alien aspect of the movie was inspired by the release of videos showing pilots encountering aircraft from outer space. 

“It made it very real, very much in the moment. It’s one of the reasons, I guess, I can proudly say this movie is based on a true story,” Jordan said. 

“But what was most nerve-wracking or scary to me about the whole thing is that you’d like to think that when actual video proof of UFOs comes out that something would change in our lifestyle, not it’s really business as usual.”

The film also features a shot of a black man on a horse, which it claims was the first motion picture ever made. Emerald (Keke Palmer) says that her great-great-great-grandfather was the star of that two-second film. 

The first motion picture ever created was of a man riding a horse – but the man wasn’t black. Gilbert Domm, the man riding the horse in Eadweard Muybridge’s Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, was likely white and an employee at the stables where the film was shot. 

Another film of a different rider on another horse was created years later – this time, the rider was black. Therefore, unlike the film claims, the first man to appear in a motion picture wasn’t black. 

Regardless, this piece of film history in the movie represents one of its ‘true’ elements. It might not be entirely accurate, but there’s some truth in it: one of the earliest film stars was a black man lost in history.