Hollywood Risk Takers: Lakeith Stanfield & Tessa Thompson on Their Dynamic Roles in ‘Sorry To Bother You’

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Sorry To Bother You has been described by Boots Riley as an “absurdist dark comedy with magical realism and science fiction inspired by the world of telemarketing.” And while a few of us here at CASSIUS have only been around for close to three decades (some of us less), we think it’s safe to say a film like this had not yet existed in the mainstream sphere—at least not one created by a Black filmmaker.

If you’ve already seen the film—which The New York Times called the offspring of Office Space and Putney Swope after a night of “hallucinogens, Marxist theory, and the novels of Paul Beatty and Colson Whitehead”—you know what’s offered in the trailer’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you haven’t, well… we won’t spoil it for you, but the sh*t is bizarre as f**k—and we mean that in a good way.

'Sorry To Bother You' Film Still

Source: Annapurna Pictures

News & Culture Editor Stephanie Long caught up with Lakeith Stanfield (Cassius Green) and Tessa Thompson (Detroit) to talk about what drew them to their dynamic roles in the ingeniously offbeat film.

When I read [the script], it blew my mind. It was like ‘oh, this is obviously the next logical step, right?'”
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of Blackness,” Stanfield joked, referencing the t-shirt Steph was wearing that day. “Nah that’s just on your shirt. I really like your shirt. But it’s tied up in that for sure.”

“It’s super tied up in that,” co-signed Thompson, who later noted the fact that there aren’t many Black folks represented in the magical realism space. “I actually don’t always know [what I’m looking for in a role],” Stanfield added, “which is why it’s good to have stories like this because when I read it, it blew my mind. It was like ‘oh, this is obviously the next logical step, right?'” Right!

'Sorry To Bother You' Film Still

Source: Annapurna Pictures

The two stars went on to discuss the importance of the film for aspiring Black filmmakers and what they hope audiences ultimately walk away with.

“A film like Black Panther doing as well as it did, globally, dispels this myth that our faces don’t sell overseas,” Thompson stated. “So in that way, what I hope [Sorry To Bother You] does for all talent—not just Black talent, because this movie is not just for us—is to really open doors.”

And to the naysayers who assumed a film like Sorry To Bother You wouldn’t work with Black talent, Stanfield says: “You’re wrong!”

Hear what else they had to say in our interview above. Sorry To Bother You is out everywhere now.


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