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Since 2013, rising star Lakeith Stanfield has been creating a diverse body of work. He’s played offbeat guys, villains, hype men, the best friend, and iconic historical figures in everything from horror films to black comedies. Lakeith Stanfield is one of the most interesting young actors working today. He refuses to be boxed into any role, genre, or label--making him a brilliant character actor and scene-stealer in most of his TV shows and movies. Lakeith Stanfield’s work gets us excited about his potential Hollywood career.
Lakeith Stanfield has appeared in over 30 TV shows and short or feature films. He continues to stretch himself as an actor and performer. He’s worked with big names like Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Adam Sandler, Oliver Stone, Ava DuVernay, and Jordan Peele. Lakeith Stanfield has achieved so much at such a young age, but still dreams of even more iconic roles with big name directors. Those new to Lakeith Stanfield’s work may wonder which of his films and TV shows are worth watching. Well, we have a few options.
Sorry To Bother You
Sorry to Bother You is a satirical film about a black salesman named Cassius (Lakeith Stanfield) who must put on his “white voice” to increase sales. The company mistreats and underpays its workers, so his coworkers try to form a union. Eventually, Cassius becomes one of the company’s best salesmen and starts to neglect his friends and coworkers. Sorry to Bother You then takes a really unexpected, trippy turn that we won’t spoil for you.
Sorry to Bother You is one of Lakeith Stanfield’s leading roles and he does an excellent job leading this very out-there concept. Sorry to Bother You takes an extreme turn of events, but it’s very much grounded in some of today’s biggest issues like capitalism, racism, slave labor, and cultural appropriation. Sorry to Bother You is not a safe film, which means people will have strong reactions to it. They’ll probably either love it or hate it, but there won’t be much middle ground. Sorry to Bother You is available on Hulu. Stream it HERE.
Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay, stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and follows King’s journey that led up to the Selma protest marches of 1965. Selma is a historical drama and part bio-pic about Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights Movement, and the events that occurred before, during, and after the Selma march of 1965, including the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson (Lakeith Stanfield).
The Civil Rights Movement was a long, hard battle that resulted in many casualties. Selma depicts the brutal, frustrating, and difficult steps it took for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to go into effect. The movie is necessary viewing for its snapshot of such a major event. Ava DuVernay brilliantly directs this Oscar nominated film. Selma only has a few scenes with Lakeith Stanfield, but those short scenes deliver enough personality to give viewers an understanding of why this young man was so beloved and helped make the fight for equality even stronger.
Dope follows three high school nerds as they become involved in the drug business. Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is the main protagonist, a kid just trying to survive high school and get into Harvard. Rick Famuyiwa directs this coming of age adventure that displays the struggles of growing up, especially in a dangerous neighborhood. Dope isn’t all drama as it effortlessly blends comedy into these very real and scary situations.
Despite the serious nature of Dope, the film takes a hopeful approach to its events, and keeps things comedic from start to finish. Lakeith Stanfield has a small role in the movie as Marquis, one of the high school bullies. While Sanfield's role isn't big in this film, the movie overall gives a unique look at black teens growing up in rough neighborhoods. It doesn't rely on the typical stereotypes that are often portrayed in films about high crime neighborhoods. Instead, Dope offers a fresh perspective on the varied personalities of black youth. Stanfield has also played a lot of chill characters, and this is one of the few times he plays a character that you wouldn't mind smacking.
Get Out is the directorial debut of comedian Jordan Peele. The film became one of 2017’s most discussed and analyzed movies. The film received award nominations and became a box office hit. It features Daniel Kaluuya, Alison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Lil Rel Howery, and Catherine Keener. The basic premise of Get Out is a black man goes to meet his white girlfriend’s parents. Quickly, he discovers that things are not what they seem. Get Out is very much about racial problems and tensions that still exist between black and white America. It’s such a scary horror film because of its real roots.
Get Out is the film that made most people take notice of Lakeith Stanfield. He has a very small role in it, but his scenes are pivotal. One of them even highlights the main story of Get Out and starts the film’s major climax. Lakeith Stanfield’s performance is one of the major standout elements of Jordan Peele’s new horror classic.
Based on a This American Life podcast, Crown Heights tells the true story of Colin Warner, a man wrongfully convicted of murder. It mainly follows the journey of Colin, played by Lakeith Stanfield, and his best friend Carl King (Nnamdi Asomugha). Crown Heights premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and won the Audience Award for U.S Dramatic Film.
Crown Heights highlights the problems with the justice system and prisons in general, but it’s more of a story about love and friendship. The bonds that Colin has formed are what lead to those around him fighting so hard to bring him justice. Crown Heights is a tragic story told in a beautiful way. Lakeith Stanfield’s acting is especially admirable, as he once again shows his stellar acting range. As an Amazon Studio Production, Crown Heights is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. Watch it HERE.
In Atlanta, Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, and Lakeith Stanfield play three friends trying to make it in the Atlanta rap scene. The main story follows up-and-coming rapper Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) and his manager and cousin Earn (Donald Glover). Lakeith Stanfield plays their eccentric friend Darius. The three often find themselves in comedic and challenging situations.
Darius occupies the same space as many weird, ditzy, or crazy friend characters that we often see in comedy and sitcom series. However, Lakeith Stanfield adds layers to Darius that often doesn’t exist in some of these other versions of this character. Darius is as fascinating as he is strange. Atlanta is one of the most refreshing comedies to come out of the last few years. It is extremely funny, edgy, and unique. FX renewed Atlanta for season 3 and 4, but fans still have to wait a little longer to see more of Darius, Earn, and Paper Boi. Hulu is currently streaming the first two seasons of Atlanta. Watch it HERE.
Straight Outta Compton
Straight Outta Compton is a bio-pic about the formation of rap group N.W.A. The film mainly focuses on Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), and ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and their manager Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti). Neil Brown Jr. and Aldis Hodge play N.W.A members DJ Yella and MC Ren. Straight Outta Compton follows N.W.A’s rise to fame, their times at the height of their success, and the band’s eventual split.
Straight Outta Compton features several famous rappers and artists of the 80s and 90s, including Snoop Dogg played by Lakeith Stanfield. Stanfield has a small role in Straight Outta Compton but in his brief time on screen, he exhibits the mannerism, charm, and even voice of the real Snoop Dogg. Straight Outta Compton gives a fascinating look at N.W.A and the 90s rap scene. It’s definitely a movie worthy of your attention.
Short Term 12
Lakeith Stanfield has a deep, personal history with Short Term 12. His first film was the short film version of Short Term 12. He did another short film after this one, but then took a major break from acting, working typical jobs, like at a legal weed dispensary. Short Term 12’s director, Destin Daniel Cretton, couldn’t find anyone that gave him the same performance as Lakeith Stanfield did in his shorter version, so he went looking for him. This film led to Stanfield’s return to pursuing acting full-time.
In Short Term 12, Lakeith Stanfield plays Marcus, an older member of Grace (Brie Larson)’s group home. He’s struggling with the idea of life outside the group home. Stanfield was nominated for several awards for his performance in Short Term 12, including an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male actor. The film is a moving look at a group home and the young woman who tries to help them figure things out as she’s trying to solve her own problems. Short Term 12 is available to stream on Vudu for free. Stream it HERE.
Rian Johnson wrote and directed Knives Out, a modern-day whodunit with an all-star cast that includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Famed and wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) commits suicide, but something doesn’t quite seem right. Three detectives are called to investigate the crime. Lakeith Stanfield plays Detective Lieutenant Elliot, who ends up assisting private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) as he tries to solve the crime.
Knives Out has become one of the best-reviewed and biggest Box Office hits of 2019. The film gives tribute to the mystery genre while having fun with it. Knives Out is an enjoyable film that deserves a viewing or a hundred.
Arguably the biggest snub of this Academy season, Uncut Gems follows jeweler Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) as he attempts to make a big score. He needs the money to pay off some of his debt and just for personal glory. Howard goes from one scheme after another hoping to make a bunch of money, but things keep getting more and more out of control. Lakeith Stanfield plays Demany, one of Howard’s assistants.
Uncut Gems feels very chaotic and that is part of the thrill of the film. Adam Sandler gives one of his best performances as Howard, and Lakeith gives an equally engaging performance as his shady assistant. Stanfield and Sandler’s performances enhance Uncut Gems’ story and style even more.
Twenty-twenty will be another great film year for Lakeith Stanfield. He makes his romantic movie debut in The Photograph on February 14, and then he has a role in an Untitled Fred Hampton Project film set for an August 21, 2020 release.