The face of Lakeith Stanfield should not be unfamiliar to you. He was in Jordan Peele’s smash hit Get Out and currently appears in the FX show Atlanta. This summer, Lakeith stars in Sorry To Bother You, a dark comedy/fantasy set in an alternate reality of present-day Oakland and revolves around Cassius Green. As described by Lakeith, his character “attempts to situate himself in a better position in life by working up the ranks of a telemarketer– which requires that he changes himself in crazy ways in order to do it.” One of those changes involve Cassius using his white voice to read his telemarketing script as suggested to him by a black co-worker, played by Danny Glover.
Sorry To Bother You premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January and has done well in limited release. It also has a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Recently, Lakeith had a chat with NPR about the film, the images we attempt to push everyday, and why he says being brave is tattooed in his psyche. Listen to the full interview below.
On moving to LA to pursue acting
“When I first started, I came from an environment where we didn’t have very much … Southern California, near San Bernadino, Victorville, on the way to Vegas you pass through this little desert. And so we didn’t really have much stuff, resource-wise, so me moving to L.A. was like me going to the big city, and you would see the lights and the sidewalk that was sparkly, and we thought that was a cool thing — until I got there and realized that it’s only cool if you can afford to survive there, which at the time I couldn’t … but just making that transition, going to L.A., for people that lived at home still, they thought that I might be selling out, sacrificing my realness, my rawness, who I really was deep down to come dance in Hollywood. So it was a real conflicting thing for me, making the transition, because I didn’t want to disappoint my friends. But at the same time I felt like I was making a change for the better. I mean, after all, the only way you can do something great is if there’s great risk.”
On what it means to be brave
“It’s my contention that being able to display yourself in any real way — I think that that is a brave thing to do. You know, bravery can be shown by anyone, in any particular gender or whatever people align themselves with. Bravery is simply standing out and saying, well, I’m going to do this and I’m going to feel this and I’m going to be this, regardless. I sat down with myself and said, I have to remain true to myself … that’s my life’s journey, that’s just my thing that I’ve been sent here to do. So it’s tattooed, in a sense, in my psyche.”
Listen to the full interview and read additional excerpts from the interview here.