Published Oct 11, 2018Boots Riley's directorial debut Sorry to Bother You will stand as one of the most unique films of 2018. While everyone agrees that Lakeith Stanfield was an excellent choice to lead the project, however, the role nearly went to two other big-name actors.
Speaking at the BFI London Film Festival [via The Hollywood Reporter], Riley opened up about the early casting choices for the film — and the enormous movies that prevented those choices from following through.
It all started with Jordan Peele, who wanted Sorry to Bother You to be his final acting role. "[He] emailed me and was like, I want to do this, and he wanted to play the lead," Riley said. "He had said that he had planned on not acting, but this would be his farewell piece."
As everyone knows all too well, Peele went on to become one of the most sought-after filmmakers in Hollywood. "And then he directs Get Out," Riley continued. "He calls me up and says, 'I don't want to act.'"
Riley asked Peele who else he might recommend for the role, at which point Donald Glover's name came up. "He said, 'I want to do it!'" Riley remembered Glover saying. "Then he says, 'The only thing is I might have this Star Wars thing.'"
Glover asked if Riley could wait until he was done Season 2 of Atlanta, but the director was worried that his financing would be gone by then. Fortunately, Stanfield's manager was within earshot and called Riley 10 minutes later.
Having initially thought Stanfield was too young from seeing him play high school students in films like Dope, Riley was convinced he'd be perfect for the role after meeting him. The rest, of course, is history.
Sorry to Bother You is now available to purchase digitally. It will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on October 23. Read Exclaim!'s interview with Riley here.