LaKeith Stanfield says ‘The Book of Clarence’ is closest to roles he’s always wanted to play

ABC/Eric McCandless

LaKeith Stanfield, star of Jeymes Samuel‘s The Book of Clarence, says the biblical-set film is the closest he’s gotten to the acting gigs he’s dreamed of. 

He chatted with Ebony for its January cover story, opening up about his role as Clarence and how it’s his best role yet.

“I think Clarence stood singularly as the closest I’ve gotten to the kind of roles that I set out to do when I started acting,” he said. “I wanted to do dynamic things that called for me to be challenged in my performance and I felt were meaningful. I wanted to do roles that spoke to my people and that engaged in conversation that would allow us to see ourselves in a fuller light.” 

Stanfield mentioned one of his breakout films, The Photograph, as another project that aligns with his onscreen goals. 

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do — show romances with dark-skinned people on screen without toxicity,” he said.

With The Book of Clarence, a film that follows a man’s journey of proving himself worthy to those around him, LaKeith said he was eager to give it his all. 

“This movie embodied a lot of things I wanted to explore and share,” he noted. “The fact that it came out as something I could be proud of surprised me because I typically hate something about the performance. I’m critical of myself, but with this one, I loved it.”

The Atlanta star shared some of the backstory of his involvement with the film, revealing he had talks with Samuel while working on The Harder They Fall.

A major factor that drew Stanfield to the story was the almost entirely Black cast.

“I just wanted to see more of that and be a part of things that showed that,” he said.

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