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Billy Dee Williams Offers the Perfect Advice to Donald Glover on Playing Lando Calrissian

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | August 9, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | August 9, 2017 |

There’s a fantastic profile of Donald Glover up on THR this morning that goes through his career and really cements his place in popular culture today. Quietly, Glover is straight-up conquering the industry. I love what Tina Fey and Dan Harmon had to say about Glover’s trajectory. Here’s Fey on Glover leaving the writer’s room on 30 Rock after three seasons:

“Normally you’re in the position of telling people, ‘Maybe pursue it on the side. Don’t give up your income.’ Because you don’t feel like they’ll make it,” Fey has said. “But with Donald, the answer was clearly, ‘Yep. You’re wasting valuable time here. Go get famous.’ “

Meanwhile, Harmon believes that Glover’s departure was really the end of Community:

“I needed to convince myself that Donald leaving wasn’t the death of the show, but now that it’s all over, I think we can agree that it was.”

I really loved Keith David and Paget Brewster on the show, but yeah: It never was the same. Harmon wasn’t about to stop Glover from leaving Community, however:

“You can’t tell that guy, ‘Oh, now this is the time you’re going to fail, so you should definitely not keep moving forward,’ ” says Harmon. “Look at his ascent. If I were Donald Glover, I would try eating the moon, because we’re not so sure he can’t until he tries since everything he tries he succeeds at.”

Also, I don’t think I ever quite put it together like THR did, but they’re right in that Donald Glover — in a 2010 tweet about wanting to play Spider-Man — really provoked much of the debate about diversity in superhero casting that rightfully absorbed much of our attention.

The best bit in the profile, however, was Glover’s meeting with Billy Dee Williams, and how Glover sought advice in how to approach the role of Lando Calrissian:

Glover found himself frazzled and running behind, as he often is, and was more than a little nervous. Once the formalities were out of the way, he threw himself feverishly into a dissection of Calrissian and his possible virtues: “I was like, ‘I’ve always felt like this character could do this, and he represents this, and I kind of feel like he comes from here, and it’s very obvious he has a lot of taste, so maybe he grew up seeing that from afar? Because I’m like that. Maybe he saw it from other planets and was like, ‘I want to be that.’ ” Glover is full-on laughing now as he re-enacts the exchange. “He just let me ramble on and on, and then finally I was like, ‘So, what do you think?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, I don’t know about all that. Just be charming.’ “

Sage advice from the man who knows what works every time.

“I don’t know about all that. Just be charming.”

Isn’t that the approach we should all be taking to everything?

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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