Yes, it’s true. Actor Lakeith Stanfield has a healthy dose of quirk to his demeanor. And his fans (and Hollywood, for that matter) love him for just that reason. As we all eagerly await the return of Atlanta (the Emmy-winning series created by Donald Glover will resume production for Seasons 3 and 4 in the spring of 2020) so that we can resume soaking up the comedic and all-endearing allure of Lakeith Stanfield's character, Darius Epps, Stanfield has busied himself with several film and television projects that fans of the Get Out and Sorry to Bother You star can enjoy.
While we’re excited about the Valentine's Day release of his rom-com starring "it girl" Issa Rae, The Photograph, first comes his role starring opposite Adam Sandler in the Safdie brothers film Uncut Gems. BET spoke with Stanfield about the drama, which was released on Christmas Day, and experienced firsthand just how humble, thoughtful and funny the California native can actually be.
BET: Things go horribly wrong for Harold, Adam Sandler's character in this film, because of his out-of-control gambling habit. What are your thoughts on gambling in general?
Lakeith Stanfield: Hmmm, gambling? I don't do it, man. I ain't good at it. Like, every time I go to Vegas, I'm losing money. But in a larger sense, you know, life’s a gamble, s%*t. I know in my life I’ve [done] some things to get some things, so...
BET: Harold believes a certain "precious" stone will bring him the luck he so desperately needs. Do you have a certain item that you consider lucky?
Stanfield: I don't have that in my life at this point, but I do like stones, energy stones and things of that nature. I like jewelry. Yeah, I'm into that.
BET: Any stone in particular that you are a big fan of or that you are attracted to?
Stanfield: I don't know what it's called, but it's that pink one. Rose quartz or something? Yeah. The love stone.
BET: Everyone is still buzzing about Eddie Murphy's triumphant return to Saturday Night Live, and Adam [Sandler] is an SNL alum as well who has gone on to have a very successful career. What was it like working with him on this film?
Stanfield: It's inspiring. It really substantiated the idea that being around people that have been in it for a while can be of value, because you can learn many things on and off set. Like how to handle things and how to move. And one thing that was inspiring about him was, this is a very stressful movie, obviously, and he was able to maintain his cool throughout everything! It's like, always in a good mood, always cool. Like, he was acting like somebody that had been in the game for a long time and was content with themselves, and that was dope.
BET: Was there anything that you learned about Adam that kind of shocked or surprised you?
Stanfield: I liked his choice in music. Yeah. In between takes he'd be listening to really good jazz and I was like, where'd you get this from? He put me up on to a couple cool things.
BET: You're one of a handful of young black male actors today who has distinguished themselves on film with a variety of distinct hairstyles. For example, in Sorry to Bother You you rocked a twisted fro, and in this film you sport braids. What hairstyle is closest to a Lakeith 'do?
Stanfield: [Laughter] Ah, yeah, you know. I like wigs. I like hair, so I like to play around with it in characters too, because it's fun, really, and this was an opportunity where I kind of had a canvas with the character. Nobody asked me, but I was like, make my hair like Pusha T. I was lucky to work with people that trust me and let me do it my way. What would be most representative of me? S**t, probably alopecia [laughter].
Stanfield: Because I had it for a long time. I had it in high school and I went into remission.
BET: Your character, Demany, has a friendship with Sandler's character, Harold, that goes awry over money, and it goes completely left. How did you approach shooting those scenes?
Stanfield: In the movie Demany blew up on Howard and had a physical reaction and was like moving around, but afterwards I felt like very protective of Adam because I really love his soul, he's a very honest, very cool dude, so I was like, you good? And he was like no, no, it's cool, it's cool! I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing too much, you know. But yeah, that’s my dude.
BET: There’s a pretty wild scene in the film that takes place in a club and features a cameo by singer The Weeknd. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen take place in a club?
Stanfield: When I was in a club in Atlanta one time, like a strip club, after the strip club had kinda died down a little bit, somebody shot it up. That was kinda crazy. While I was filming Atlanta.
BET: Kevin Garnett is known for being a dynamic basketball player, Adam Sandler is your lovable funny guy... what do you ultimately want to be known for?
Stanfield: Well, you know, my work will speak for itself.
Uncut Gems is out now!