timespace coordinates: alternative present-day version of Oakland, CaliforniaSorry to Bother You is a 2018 American absurdist dark comedy with aspects of magical realism and science fiction inspired by the world of telemarketing written and directed by Boots Riley, in his directorial debut. It stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, and Armie Hammer.
Boots has maintained that the film offers a radical class analysis of capitalism, rather than a specific analysis of America under President Trump, clarifying that he wrote the initial screenplay during the Obama administration, and that the target was never any specific elected official or movement, but rather a broader look at “the puppetmasters behind the puppets.” While the majority of the final script remained the same, minimal changes were made prior to shooting in order to avoid the film appearing to be a critique of Trump specifically, including removing a line where a character says “Worry Free is making America great again,” written before Trump would use the line in his 2016 presidential campaign.
The title of the film has a double meaning, referencing both the phrase’s use by telemarketers and its general usage when telling a person something you know they might not like to hear, such as the Communist themes present in the film. According to Boots, “…the other side of it is, is that often when you’re telling someone something that is different from how they view things, different from how they view the world, it feels like an annoyance or a bother. And that’s where that comes from.” The theme of the strike was used to reflect the need to “organize people in the workplace” and for workers to recognize their power. When asked on his choice to cast Armie Hammer as Steve Lift, Boots stated that Armie was a “lovable dude,” whose casting reflects the current state of “new capitalism,” where the realities of working conditions are hidden, referencing lines such as “I’m not your boss, I’m your friend.” (wiki)