LAKEITH STANSFIELD stars in brand-spankin' new film SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, is The MAN With ALL The COOLEST PROJECTS In HOLLYWOOD, and he sits till long enough to answer 20 QUESTIONS With PLAYBOY Magazine!!!
Here are a few interview interludes:
Your new movie Sorry to Bother You has some of the most shocking twists in recent memory. Without giving too much away, were you prepared for that when you first got the script
No one gave me any warning, which I think is a good way to go into this kind of story—straight in. Once I read it, I was like, “Oh, totally, we have to do this.” It hopped off the page. Normally, to make a movie like this you would need a multimillion-dollar budget. I don’t know what the exact numbers were, but they were pretty low. Sometimes my trailer was a van, you know what I mean? But we found a way to make it happen. We had a vision. Sometimes it’s the best working environment when everyone builds from the trenches together. You can really get on the ground and get dirty.
Your character, Cassius Green, is a telemarketer who, having learned to use his “white voice,” gets a big promotion that comes with increasingly lavish and weird perks. You’re 26 and have been acting for a decade. In your own career, has it ever felt as though you were leaving behind the people you came up with?
Yeah. When I first moved to Los Angeles, it was definitely a big shift for me. Certain people around me didn’t understand why I would be trying to pursue this weird job. I had conversations with people very similar to those Cassius has with Detroit [Cassius’s girlfriend, played by Tessa Thompson]. But it hasn’t really started feeling super weird until now. I was in L.A. recently, in my car at a stoplight, and some dude just runs up to my passenger-side window, takes a selfie and runs off. Just selfie, then gone. I was like, Yeah, that’s never happened before. Something is different.
Were you raised in a religious household?
Mm-hmm. I was raised very religious. It wasn’t until I was older that I started to comprehend things differently, in a way that was sort of opposite to what I’d been taught. I went through a phase when I dropped all religion, but then I went back, thinking maybe it’s some mixture in between the two. And now I just say, “I don’t know.” But I do like the Bible. It has a lot of real-world implications and seems to be based on some astrological things, so if you’re into trying to connect to something larger than yourself, it’s definitely worth a read. But try to read it outside the confines of any given religion. Read it for yourself and come up with your own conclusions.
You recently wrote and directed a short film, The Road. Can you tell us about that?
I wrote and shot that while I was filming the TV show Atlanta. It was inspired by a conversation between Donald Glover and Brian Tyree Henry about race and power and politics. I was sitting at the table with these two very smart people who were just volleying, and I was in the middle like, “Oh, shit.” It inspired me to take my friend, who worked with me on the project, and sort of make him represent some of those things. And being in Atlanta, which is a really black city, there’s this interesting aspect about race relations and things of that nature
Other than Sorry to Bother You, do you have any upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about?
I just wrapped up a movie called The Girl in the Spider’s Web, which is the next installment in the Millenniumseries, the first of which was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I can’t wait till we see a trailer for it because I think it’s going to be quite the spectacle.