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Lakeith Stanfield Telemarkets His Way Into a Moral Dilemma in the Trailer for Sorry to Bother You

Annapurna Pictures released the first trailer for Boots Riley’s directorial debut Sorry to Bother You on Sunday, and it looks like Get Out may have been the opening bell for a new wave of pointed black satires on American life featuring Lakeith Stanfield. Get Out writer-director Jordan Peele, coming from the world of sketch comedy, made a film about the commodification of black culture. Riley, who wrote Sorry to Bother You, comes from the world of music and social activism, and accordingly, his film looks like it is chiefly concerned with the stranglehold white culture has over commodification itself.

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Stanfield plays Cassius Green, the hapless resident of an alternate-reality Oakland, whose economic misadventures lead him to a shocking discovery: He can make a killing in telemarketing, as long as he speaks in a nasal, David Cross–esque “white voice.” (David Cross, probably the most David Cross–esque actor working today, provides Stanfield’s voice.) Slate’s Aisha Harris, who saw the film at Sundance, calls it a “feverish, bonkers satire,” and Annapurna Pictures must have agreed, because they picked it up for seven figures. Besides Stanfield and Cross, Sorry to Bother You features Danny Glover, Armie Hammer, Tessa Thompson, and Patton Oswalt. It’s not Riley’s first collaboration with Oswalt: Back in 2013, the stand-up comic and actor acted out the lyrics to the Coup’s “The Magic Clap”:

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While the video for “The Magic Clap” features Oswalt’s image but mostly omits his voice, Sorry to Bother You, in which Oswalt plays “Mr. ____________’s Voice (voice),” will have Oswalt’s voice but presumably not his image. Science tells us, therefore, that combining the audio from one film with the video from the other should produce what’s known as an “anti-Oswalt,” a mysterious comedian whose existence has long been theorized but never proven. We’ll find out for sure when Sorry to Bother You hits theaters on July 6.

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