In Jordan Peele’s new horror movie, Us, Lupita Nyong’o plays two roles: the wife and mother of two, Adelaide, and Adelaide’s identical stalker, known only as “Red.” Adelaide’s family’s beach-house vacation is ruined by the arrival of a family — led by Red — that looks and moves exactly as they do, a double family that’s intent on killing them. For Red, Nyong’o adopted a voice that’s deeply unsettling. Peele’s script called for a “scratchy” voice, and Nyong’o was at an event totally unrelated to the horror movie when she heard one that she wanted to mimic. “Nyong’o attended a fashion event where, to her surprise, she heard a speaker whose voice she thought sounded close to what Peele was describing,” reports the New York Times. “The speaker was Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary spasms of the larynx.” Natalie Portman’s Jackie voice was eerie; Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine voice was the stuff dreams were made of, but Lupita Nyong’o’s Red voice is the one that will give you nightmares.
Lupita Nyong’o. Photo: Claudette Barius/Universal Studios