Born in San Bernardino, California, Stanfield got into acting as a teenager and scored his breakthrough role in 2013's Short Term 12 as a troubled teenager alongside future Oscar winner Brie Larson. His thoughtful performance earned him rave reviews, further acting opportunities in movies like Selma, Dope, Snowden, and Straight Outta Compton, and a reputation as a "method" performer. "He’s very focused," says his Death Note director Adam Wingard. "I really respected that and I gave him his space. He goes off and goes in the corner, and comes in ready to go."
That combination of fierce introspection and off-kilter humor was on display during our interview, which covered his Death Note role, the challenges of Crown Heights, and a surreal possible future for his Atlanta character, Darius. Stanfield's corner of the universe -- both private and playful -- is a place to get lost in.