News & Opinion | July 3, 2018 5:00 am

Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson’s Weird Perfection in “Sorry to Bother You”

The stars have individually become two of Hollywood's most versatile performers.

Over the past few years, Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson have individually proven themselves to be among TV and film’s most versatile performers. But their partnership in Sorry to Bother You solidifies them as Hollywood’s most compelling new character actors, writes GQ. 

Stanfield has been seen as notably eccentric for a while now. He told GQ that he wouldn’t wear shoes to school so that he would be closer to the ground, and he really didn’t have friends. But he seems excited to be the “weird leader” of Hollywood. Meanwhile, Thompson said she only takes roles that set her up to be like a Rizzo in Grease, never a Sandy. “The roles I’m attracted to are parts of myself that I haven’t been able to explore, be it darkness or lightness. They are aspirational,” she told GQ. 

Together, the two stun audiences in Sorry to Bother You, a film that follows Cassius Green (Stanfield), a down-and-out telemarketer in a dystopian Oakland. He figures out how to make a lot of money at his shady corporation (by using his “white voice”) and ignores his moral compass in order to expand his bank account. In doing so, he alienates his politically engaged girlfriend (Thompson) and his co-workers who are fighting for fair working wages.

“This is a new movement of art for people of color that has to do with not only people being represented on screen and behind the screen, but a new way of thinking about the creation of art. [Stanfield and Thompson] are two of the prominent members of this kind of new group of actors that are coming up,” said director Boots Riley.