The First Purge, the latest in the Purge horror film series, is here to bring fans another nightmarish look at what America could be in a dystopic future. While the movie is meant to be a fictional portrayal of the U.S. in an alternate reality, fans were surprised to see real-life political commentator Van Jones make a cameo in the new prequel.
The CNN star shows up towards the beginning of the film, serving as a boots-on-the-ground reporter who interviews the people behind, as well as those participating in, the titular “first purge” held in Staten Island. In typical Van Jones fashion, he takes the politically motivated organizers—including its creator, a scientist played by Marisa Tomei—to task over the controversial social experiement,.
You can check out a clip from Jones’ appearance in The First Purge below.
— Van Jones (@VanJones68) July 2, 2018
The First Purge: Van Jones cameo explained
As for how the CNN commentator ended up in the film, director Gerard McMurray recently explained Jones’ cameo in an interview with Metro.
One of my friends from Howard University knew Van’s assistant and everything. I wanted to ground the film in reality, that was one of the things, and Van Jones has definitely been a voice of her people, a voice of all people, really. I thought adding him to the film would be a good touch. It was a good touch. I was a little afraid to add him to the film because I didn’t think it would happen. Sometimes, those people are really busy, and then again you know, it’s the “Purge” film, sometimes people didn’t know what I was making, like “I don’t know about ‘The Purge,’” because they don’t know really, they’re not into that type of thing as horror. They don’t know exactly what it is. I wasn’t sure he would be into it, you know what I mean? I think that having Van Jones, he brought honesty to the role and just made it real and it felt authentic and it was a great touch. Things felt real.
The First Purge is now in theaters.