getting into character

Lupita Nyong’o’s Us Voice Was Inspired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Lupita Nyong’o. Photo: Claudette Barius/Universal Studios

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’s Us Voice Came From Robert F. Kennedy Jr.