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If I was asked to name the reigning go-to guy for the weirdest projects in entertainment today, Lakeith Stanfield would be the first person to come to my mind. You may assume I would come to such a conclusion based on his breakout role as the enigmatic Darius on Atlanta or as the lead of surreal social satire Sorry to Bother You, but that is not necessarily the case. In fact, I would argue that his real life is even stranger and arguably more interesting.
Born in San Bernardino, California, in 1991, Lakeith Stanfield made his feature-length acting debut, alongside Brie Larson, in the acclaimed 2013 drama Short Term 12, for which he received a Film Independent Spirit nomination. Since then he has done everything from historical biopics (including playing Snoop Dogg in Straight Outta Compton), horror (most notably his scene-stealing role in Get Out), breakneck crime thrillers (he put up with a lot of Adam Sandler’s shit in Uncut Gems), and even voicing a buffalo named Guy on Bojack Horseman.
Clearly, his diverse and unusual filmography has been essential to him getting noticed as a performer, but a good number of things he is known for offscreen (both prior to and in the prime of his acting days) are enough to turn heads as well. Just take it from these seven lesser-known facts about Lakeith Stanfield, starting with insight into what his career could have been had he not achieved stardom… among one other crucial reason.
A SWAT Raid Ended Lakeith Stanfield’s Job At A Medical Marijuana Farm
One interesting connective through-line that many of Lakeith Stanfield’s characters seem to have in common is an interest in smokable substances, which is something the actor has actually had professional experience in while raising plants at a hub for medical marijuana, as he described it on Jimmy Kimmel Live, at least. That was, until six months into the job when, according to a Los Angeles Times interview, police raided the farm, putting a stop the operation and pushing the young man to pursue a new career.
Lakeith Stanfield Studied Modeling Before Breaking Into Acting
While that follow-up career, of course, would eventually be as a screen actor, according to Empire’s biography of him, Lakeith Stanfield initially tested his worth as a model by taking classes at LA’s John Casablancas Modeling and Career Center. Considering the rather impressionable fashion choices he is famous for sporting on the red carpet, hearing him tell Jimmy Kimmel about his lessons on the catwalk is not much of a surprise.
Lakeith Stanfield Had Never Seen Friends Before Playing Chandler In Jay-Z’s Parody Video
It was surprising, however, when Lakeith Stanfield told Jimmy Fallon that he had never seen an episode of Friends before, despite hearing about it "in passing." The reveal came in response to the Tonight Show host’s mention of Jay-Z’s satirical video for "Moonlight," which recreates a classic episode of the sitcom with well-known black actors, including Issa Rae as Rachel, Lil Rel Howery as Joey, Tessa Thompson as Monica, and Stanfield himself as Chandler Bing. Could that BE any more ironic?
Lakeith Stanfield Raps On The Sorry To Bother You Soundtrack
Similarly ironic is how Lakeith Stanfield’s Sorry to Bother You character Cassius Green proves to be not much behind a mic in a notably biting scene from the biting 2018 satire despite the very impressive rhymes he drops on one of its original songs. In fact, in addition to his guest spot on the film’s unofficial theme song “OYAHYTT,” by writer and director Boots Riley’s band The Coup, the actor also releases his own rap music under the moniker HTIEKAL.
Lakeith Stanfield Had No Idea Who Was Playing Teddy Perkins While Shooting That Famous Atlanta Episode
Another person famous for producing music under a pseudonym is Atlanta star and creator Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover, whom Lakieth Stanfield, apparently, did not realize was the one playing the title role of Season 2’s “Teddy Perkins,” at first. The actor dished on the puzzling experience filming the creepy, Emmy-winning episode (in which Darius tries to pick up a piano from a wealthy recluse) in the following excerpt from a 2018 Entertainment Weekly interview:
I was creeped out the whole time and I had no idea who Teddy Perkins was, and they were like, “He’s this guy.” And he was very strange, and I’ve never seen anyone that looks like him, sounded like him, and so it completely threw me off. I had no idea what was going on and it was very much a trip. The way Darius felt was quite similar to the way I felt — uncomfortable throughout the duration of shooting it... I never knew that that was Donald, I never got confirmation on that actually. I just had no idea who the hell that was, and I thought he just came out of nowhere. I was like, ‘Who’s Teddy Perkins?’ and everybody’s like, ‘I don’t know,’ so I looked him up and there was nothing online but when I talked to him, he said he had been acting for years, so it was really strange. And they called ‘cut’ and it was Teddy, and when I saw him get makeup done, it was Teddy. I didn’t see any prosthetics, so I didn’t know. I had no idea who it was and I still don’t quite know, so it was very weird for me.
I am not sure who deserves the most praise in this situation: Donald Glover for staying in character so well and in such elaborate prosthetics or Lakeith Stanfield for enduring the discomfort of sharing a space with such a haunting personality. Either way, “Teddy Perkins” almost rivals Get Out as Stanfield’s greatest moment in the horror genre thus far.
Knives Out Co-Star Jamie Lee Curtis Convinced Lakeith Stanfield To Quit Smoking Cigarettes
Speaking of horror, Lakeith Stanfield got to act opposite the ultimate “Scream Queen,” Jamie Lee Curtis, in writer and director Rian Johnson’s reinvention of the whodunnit Knives Out. On another Tonight Show appearance, Stanfield recalled how the Halloween actress spotted him smoking a cigarette on set and told him to “cut that out,” to which he simply replied, “You know what? You’re right.” Sometimes speaking up is all it takes to get something done, excluding Stanfield’s campaign to play a certain comic book character.
Lakeith Stanfield Attended The Premiere Of Joker Dressed As The DC Character
When word got out that Warner Bros. was casting the lead of an origin story for Batman’s arch enemy, Lakeith Stanfield took to social media soon after to express his interest in the role that would ultimately go to Joaquin Phoenix, whose shocking performance later earned him a Best Actor Oscar in 2020. However, Stanfield would get the last laugh when, according to a report by Screen Rant, he showed up to the premier of Joker dressed in his own cosplay of the Clown Prince of Crime. If he keeps this up, perhaps we may one day see him taunting Robert Pattinson’s Batman in a future film.
What do you think? Have you never been more fascinated about Lakeith Stanfield until now, or are those facts nothing compared to this particularly amusing GQ interview he gave in 2017? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the very talented and very, very unique actor, as well as even more in-depth looks into the lives of your favorite celebrities, here on CinemaBlend.