The gray suit. It’s the signature part of so many Hitchcock films, from North by Northwest’s Cary Grant running through cornfields to Jimmy Stewart’s obsession with Kim Novak’s gray suit in Vertigo. Now, the gray suit is being beautifully repurposed by Jordan Peele and Janelle Monáe for W’s series of magazine covers directed by Oscar contenders Peele, Greta Gerwig, and Luca Guadagnino.
Peele directed Get Out, last year’s “social thriller,” a term he created for films that “pull from the uncomfortable dynamics of real life.” He reinvented the horror genre, and now he’s reinventing classic Hitchcock. Monáe, who has an album coming out this spring and costarred in Hidden Figures and Moonlight in 2016, wears a gray Michael Kors suit to portray a private investigator searching for clues to a murder.
She realizes that one of the bystanders looks exactly like her, then she sees another identical face, and you realize that all of these potential suspects are visions of herself. Filmed in the abandoned Palace movie theater in downtown Los Angeles, the scene pays tribute to Hitchcock’s legendary psychological thrillers like Psycho and Vertigo. The connection is clear — just as Hitchcock, at the time, redefined the thriller genre, so now has Peele changed our ideas of what a thriller can be, first things first by replacing Hitchcock’s protagonists with a woman of color.
Check out the rest of the series on W, from Gerwig’s wondrously bizarre take on suburban housewives with musician Florence Welch to Guadagnino’s casting of models Adwoa Aboah and Rianne van Rompaey as ghostly sisters.