LaKeith Stanfield is opening up about the toll his latest movie has taken on his mental health.
Currently in theatres and streaming on HBO Max, Judas and the Black Messiah follows the story of Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton and William O’Neal, the FBI informant sent to infiltrate the group and gather intelligence on Hampton. LaKeith Stanfield plays the snitch in the critically acclaimed Ryan Coogler movie and revealed this week that he needed therapy after filming.
In an interview with Level, Stanfield said that even though his actions were pretend, they felt real as he went through the motions.
“In the scene where I had to poison him, a lot of it didn’t end up making it to the final cut, but we shot [me mixing it in] Kool-Aid, and I had to go through all those motions. With somebody like Daniel, who I just respect as a human and an artist, as Fred Hampton, it felt like I was actually poisoning Chairman Fred Hampton. One thing [co-star] Dominique Fishback mentioned to me is that your body doesn’t always differentiate the experience from your imagination. So sometimes your body thinks that’s real, everything you’re putting it through. It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling so stressed out and having panic attacks. I realized going forward before I step into something like that again, maybe have a therapist,” he explained. “I’ve found this really cool therapist. It’s great and perfect for me right now. Hopefully it continues to be the case. It’s helped me a lot. After doing press yesterday, I had another session and it was amazing. It helps you unlock things about yourself. It’s not even necessarily about the person that you’re doing therapy with, but like you said, perspectives and strategies and tools that you didn’t have access to before,” he added.
Get into Stanfield’s full interview with Level here. He also opens up about how the loss of his best friend affected his acting, what it was like to portray an “op,” and more.