Winding Down With LaKeith Stanfield
The “Atlanta” actor is juggling several projects, but he still tries to have a little fun.
LaKeith Stanfield was settling into his hotel in Atlanta at around 10 p.m. He’d just wrapped a full day of filming for his upcoming movie “Haunted Mansion,” set to release next summer.
“It’s been kind of easy,” Mr. Stanfield said in a Zoom call. “I’m just winding down to get ready to do the same thing tomorrow.”
With the final season of FX’s “Atlanta” underway — which Mr. Stanfield called his “favorite” — and other upcoming projects, like the Apple TV+ series “The Changeling,” he has been keeping busy.
A few hours earlier, a new SZA music video had dropped, in which he appears as an eye-patch-wearing, gunslinging lover. This was his second time appearing in SZA’s visual projects.
“It’s always real nice to work with her, and she’s very generous and just a big talent,” Mr. Stanfield said. “So I wanted to do it because I’m just like, she’s so talented, you know, who knows? Maybe one day we’ll do some music together.”
Wearing a fitted yellow beanie and a charcoal-colored Saint Laurent scarf, Mr. Stanfield cozied himself in his seat and quickly signed onto the room’s Wi-Fi to take on another project — a look back at his life over the last few months through seven photos from his camera roll.
Here’s Mr. Stanfield in his own words.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
I was at an awards ceremony. I think it was the Critics Choice Awards. I was nominated and I’m sitting at a table with a bunch of other people. This guy’s a journalist. He has interviewed me a couple of times. I don’t recall his name, but he’s cool. And I liked his Afro, it was like perfectly cut. And there was this girl he came with, it was this woman who is giving the peace sign up behind his head. I just got a Leica M11, so I was carrying it around. She seemed to be playfully antagonizing him throughout the night in a cute way. It’s never really serious at award shows. Sometimes it can be quite boring and long and you’re just sitting there, so you try to occupy yourself and have a little fun.I always look at it like the game because you never want to take yourself that seriously.
On my night stand, I have a little bust of Blade. He was one of the first superheroes I saw where I was like, “I really like this dude. And he’s Black like me so it’s cool.” It’s his ear you see on the side there. For all my favorite things, I have a bust of them. I was wearing my Cartier bust down and my Apple watch, and there’s a little triangle toy there. You can break it apart and then you have to figure out how to put it back together. And then my skull, I just like to keep skulls around. My Google Home monitors my sleep. It was completely dark in my room and I think, honestly, I wanted to see how the light reflected off my bust down.
I was in New York with my baby [Mr. Stanfield’s girlfriend is seated next to him] and we went to see “TopDog/UnderDog,” and it was a cool, dope show. I was very proud of Corey Hawkins, who’s sitting to the right. We did “Straight Outta Compton” together — he played Dr. Dre, I played Snoop Dogg. To the right of him is Yahya, a fellow actor, and then Lena Waithe, to the right of him. All them other people I don’t really know who they are but they’re cool. Afterward I just wanted to say what’s up to them and show love. It was a two-man show and they did very well. I love that play. It’s hella Black, it was fun but also kind of tragic. I started crying. It just hit a personal chord.
On the same trip to New York I wanted to film a music video and do some visuals. That’s my bro Brian, my assistant. He’s great, he’s cute. I don’t rent limos often. It would be disgusting to ride limos everywhere. I just did it because I wanted the visual for my music video. I just made a song and I don’t know when I’m going to release it, if I ever release it. Sometimes I just like making music.
I was on a Saint Laurent billboard this year. I was just walking through. L.A. in the middle of the street, and I saw this giant billboard, and I was like, “That’s me on it!” I knew the campaign was coming, but I didn’t know exactly what they were going to do. Then my homie Brian [Brian Tyree Henry, an “Atlanta” co-star] was in Australia and he said, “Man, I see you all the way over here.” And then my other homie was in Japan and they said they saw me over there. It’s kind of crazy, seeing that big billboard in the same spot I used to frequent while driving my little car when I first moved to L.A. Overall, it was cool because my kid got to see me up there. Shout out Saint Laurent. But at the same time people need to stop investing in these brands and invest in themselves.
I was filming this show I’m doing called “The Changeling.” I had to ride in that canoe and I didn’t really know how to row like that, so it was pretty funny. I kept on moving backward when I was supposed to move forward or forward when I was supposed to move backward. It was a raining scene, so they had a hose and they turned that thing all the way up and it was like waterfalls on me. It was crazy. I was dripping wet, and I’m trying to row this boat and the boat was filling up with water. It’s harder than it looks.
I took this photo because my mahi mahi was pretty delicious. And I got a little mocktail there and some sparkling water and some shishito peppers. It was all pretty fire, that was in New York too. I like eating alone. You get to be alone with your thoughts and you get to eat how you want, ain’t nobody all in your face looking at you tripping off how you’re eating. I don’t even think there was nobody else in there — it was just me and the waiters. It felt very exclusive. It was pretty late, like 11 p.m. I forgot the name of the restaurant, but the good thing about New York is you can find good stuff anywhere and I like to try something new anyway.
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