The Versatility Of Lakeith Stanfield

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If you haven’t heard the name Lakeith Stanfield at least once this year then it’s time to expand your movie watching. The growing actor is starting to turn heads when it comes to his diverse roles and show-stopping performances. From his major breakout role in Atlanta to his upcoming role in The Photograph, Lakeith Stanfield is starting to make a name for himself when it comes to being a refreshing face in Hollywood. When it comes to actors nowadays they tend to play roles that suit their style or niche. This isn’t always a bad thing, but it is very common in Hollywood today. But when it comes to Lakeith, you can’t pin him in one category.

Lakeith Stanfield has been involved in many different film genres: romance, comedy, thriller, crime and the list truly goes on. He is the type of actor to push himself and take on unique roles that interest him, and he has even stated that he even wants to portray the Joker; some question why he would want to after Joaquin’s amazing performance. However, others say that he could do justice to the famous comic book character.

The top five roles where Stanfield showcases his versatility are:

1. Atlanta: Darius

Considered to be his big breakout role, Lakeith Stanfield plays the weird yet compelling character, Darius. He is a close friend of Earnest and Paperboy, who offers whimsical yet somehow understandable pockets of knowledge when he feels like it. He displays how a character can be so outlandish yet relatable to others. From asking people to measure their tree or to talking about life being a simulation, he’s a good example of a compelling character.

Darius in Atlanta on FX.
Atlanta – FX (2016)

However, many believe that he is barely acting and just being himself. Due to his interviews, it just makes it seem as though Darius is just Lakeith. Throughout the series, people started to get more invested in Darius, causing him to be a fan favorite in Atlanta.

2. Sorry To Bother You: Cassius Green

One of the strangest movies to come out in 2018, this movie follows the journey of Cassius Green. He’s just a broke regular dude constantly searching for a job until he stumbles across a telemarketing company. However, the only way to engage callers and keep them on the line is to use the “White Voice.” Lakieth’s portrayal of Cassius Green is very different to how he portrays Darius. Unlike Darius, Cassius is more stressed, less focused on the outer-worldly thoughts and more about trying to make money.

Sorry To Bother You Screenshot
Sorry To Bother You – Annapurna Pictures (2019)

He’s worried about how he’s going to make it in life, which makes it relatable to the audience. Lakeith’s performance in this film is the start of his shift from small projects and TV to major films. Not only helping become more recognizable in Hollywood but to show his potential of being a versatile actor.

3. Knives Out: Lieutenant Elliott

A slightly smaller role compared to the last two, but still a great performance by Lakeith Stanfield. Lieutenant Elliot is a no-nonsense, get the job done type of officer who is tasked with figuring out a puzzling case of murder with the help of Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig).

Knives Out screenshot
Knives Out – Lionsgate (2019)

Elliott is the anchor that keeps Blanc from going crazy with ideas and tries to bring him back to reality with evidence shown in this murder mystery. His straightforward dialogue and professional personality in this film contrast greatly with the many other different films he has starred in. This offers another example of how he is able to fit right into any movie he is cast in. Especially in movies with established actors such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, and Michael Shannon.

4. Uncut Gems: Demany

Demany is Howard’s (Adam Sandler) assistant who tries to find clients for Howard. He’s a cool-headed, smooth-talking and witty character who is the opposite of Howard, an energetic, fast-talking hustler. Many critics have praised this movie and also claimed that it was a major Oscar snub, similar to Knives Out.

Uncut Gems screenshot with Lakeith
Uncut Gems – A24 Films (2020)

After this movie came out, people started to see the trend of Lakeith performing in so many different roles. Range and versatility have been the first things to say when describing Lakeith. Many can’t wait to see what roles he plans on taking on next.

Lakeith Stanfield: The Face of New Hollywood?

Since his role in Get Out, opportunities have not stopped knocking on Lakeith Stanfield’s door. People are starting to say that he is becoming Hollywood’s new face by just being his weird yet relatable self. Many are excited to see the future roles he will take on, including his most recent: The Photograph and another future project that focuses on Fred Hampton. Lakeith’s growing recognition is due to his ability to capture any role and make it his own. He is able to create the personality of the character, while still putting in little pieces of himself as well.

Hollywood has been on this trend of using the same actors for niche roles. It is exciting to see new talent eagerly take on roles that are unique not only to them but to the audience. You don’t want to have an actor who plays the same archetype every time or else the plot starts to become predictable. Unpredictability is sometimes the best choice when it comes to actors and plot and it shows here with Lakieth Stanfield. You never know if he’ll be a villain, a good guy, or a romantic interest. Which is the best part? Keep an eye out for this guy because there are a lot more exciting projects to come from him.

Culture Intern

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