Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
LaKeith Stanfield, Jimmy Kimmel
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

LaKeith Stanfield has already proven there’s nothing and nobody he can’t play. From his double (or is it triple) role in Get Out, to Atlanta’s most serene wise fool Darius, to Knives Out’s straight-laced local detective, to Sorry To Bother You’s beleaguered center, to Snoop Dogg, to Civil Rights hero Jimmie Lee Jackson, to romantic leading man opposite Issa Rae in the upcoming The Photograph, Stanfield’s just one of those actors who makes you pay attention. He’s that way in real life, too, as, on Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, the actor came out in an ensemble only he could pull off (the dollar bill pinned to his lapel—don’t sweat it), and let Kimmel bounce the usual interview questions right off of him. “Did you, by any chance, go to the Chuck Norris school of acting?,” Kimmel asked after Stanfield’s deadpan left him floundering once again. Stanfield, clearly unconcerned, just kept doing his thing. (Stanfield explained that he did go to modeling school once, although he didn’t learn anything much there except how to make clothes look good. Which, again, mission accomplished.)

Kimmel ran down some of Stanfield’s most recent roles, eliciting the actor’s singularly opaque and intriguing responses. Acting opposite NBA star and first-time actor Kevin Garnett in Uncut Gems meant “an exchange of inspiration” between two very talented guys from different spheres. As to his first time as romantic lead, Stanfield thought about it and explained that, no, he’d never imagined he’d be starring in a movie romance (never mind opposite the similarly estimable Rae), but that “If you’ve ever been in love, know anything about love, ever experienced it or wanted to experience it, then you can understand and connect to this movie.” But Kimmel, busting out the late-night host’s old stand-by, the red carpet photo, finally got Stanfield to get direct about a role he desperately does imagine himself playing—DC Comics’ the Joker.

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Showing Stanfield in full supervillain getup at the Joker premiere, Kimmel asked if, maybe, the actor had fallen victim to the old “we’re all coming in costume” gag, since none of the other luminaries in attendance were similarly Joker-ed out for the occasion. Nope, LaKeith Stanfield just really, really loves the Joker. Not any other comic book heroes or villains. He’s not angling to hop on the cash-dispensing Marvel train. He’s just all about the Joker. And while the success of the recent, Joaquin Phoenix iteration of the big screen Joker might indicate to some that it’s time to put away the grease paint and Clown Prince of Crime dreams for a good while, Stanfield is undeterred, telling Kimmel that, naw, his plans remain unchanged. While Stanfield’s red carpet Joker definitely trended toward Heath Ledger’s makeup regimen (although with tin foil grill á la Leto), the actor channeled Jack Nicholson’s version when telling the dubious Kimmel, “Wait ’til they see me do it.” Plus, Stanfield says he’s already making his own Joker shorts at home, which, honestly, sounds like something we’d pay to watch already.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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