There's a lot of buzz around the new film Sorry To Bother You, directed by Boots Riley and starring Lakeith Stanfield. Among the cast members is Michael Sommers, an actor originally from Middlebury.
"When I read the script, I thought it was fantastic and unusual and very creative and innovative," Sommers recalled.
So what exactly happens in that script? Here's a quick synopsis of Sorry To Bother You from Sommers himself:
"It's this time period that we're living in and it's this world, but it's a slightly altered reality. And Lakeith Stanfield does a great job in the film. And his character is somewhat of a down-and-out guy, looking to make a buck. And he gets a job with me as a telemarketer and I help him, I drive him, to move toward success.
"But it's really Danny Glover who teaches him how to use his 'white voice' in order to go to great success — and he makes a lot of money as a telemarketer, and at that point, he's got to decide if he wants to continue that way or be closer to his friends."
"I'm a character actor, and the wackier the character, the better," Sommers told VPR. He describes his character in this film, Johnny, as "the evil boss in the first half of the movie, as opposed to Armie Hammer [who] is the evil boss in the second half of the movie."
Sommers, who also starred in Netflix's Sense8, may be best known to some Vermonters for his one-man show Hick in the 'Hood, in which he plays many characters based on the folks he met when he moved to a neighborhood in West Oakland, California, in 2007.
"Hick in the 'Hood is sort of a fish-out-of-water tale about a guy who doesn't know where I'm living or how to behave here," Sommers explained. "And my neighbors also don't know what to make out of me."
Sommers said he was actually back in Vermont recently to perform a different one-man show — Heart in the 'Hood — in Middlebury, Waitsfield and Windham.
"I play 16 characters, all true characters that are people that I've met and have grown to really care for a lot," Sommers said of this second show. "It's the story of me, once I've lived in this neighborhood of West Oakland for 10 years now, and I know these people better."
For those looking to see Sommers on the big screen, Sorry To Bother You made its theatrical release on July 6 (so keep an eye out for when the film may be making its way to Vermont).