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Lakeith Stanfield: ‘I’m Kind of Mad’ About Finding Out Teddy Perkins Is Donald Glover

"I wish the illusion would’ve gone on a little  longer," Stanfield says about filming the standout "Atlanta" episode.

Donald Glover as Teddy Perkins in "Atlanta"

Donald Glover as Teddy Perkins in “Atlanta”


No matter how big of a movie star Lakeith Stanfield becomes, he’s likely never going to stop being asked questions about “Teddy Perkins.” As a cast member on Donald Glover’s acclaimed FX series “Atlanta,” Stanfield took centerstage in the iconic second season episode where his character, Darius, goes to pick up a free piano from an old mansion and encounters the home’s peculiar owner, Teddy Perkins. Glover starred as Teddy Perkins under layers of makeup and prosthetics and was so unrecognizable that Stanfield didn’t know he was acting opposite his co-star and creator.

“I was like, ‘Wow, this is a very interesting fellow,'” Stanfield said to THR this week while reflecting on Teddy Perkins. “I wanted to know more about [the actor], so I started asking him questions. And Donald had a whole history prepared. He was saying he’s been acting for a long time. And I was like, ‘That’s funny, because this is a very small business…I would not miss your face.'”

Stanfield continued, “So I started asking around on the set, ‘Who the fuck is this guy?’ And then someone finally just spilled the beans, which now I’m kind of mad about, because I wish the illusion would’ve gone on a little  longer.”

Although Stanfield was adamant on set about finding out the origins of Teddy Perkins, he now regrets ruining the illusion for himself considering how much of a liking he took to the guy when he thought Teddy was a real person. As Stanfield explained to Entertainment Weekly in 2018 after the “Teddy Perkins” episode aired, Glover stayed in character as Teddy even during filming breaks.

“He said he had been acting for years, so it was really strange,” Stanfield said of Teddy. “And they called ‘cut’ and it was Teddy, and when I saw him get makeup done, it was Teddy. I didn’t see any prosthetics, so I didn’t know. I had no idea who it was and I still don’t quite know, so it was very weird for me.”

Stanfield will finally be returning to the world of “Atlanta” when the show begins production on Season 3 in 2021. Filming on the new season was originally scheduled to begin this year for a January 2021 premiere date, but the pandemic pushed the schedule back months. “Atlanta” will shoot Season 3 and Season 4 back to back.

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