Stars of Amazon’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith remake, Donald Glover and Maya Erskine, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the making of the show, their beliefs on marriage, and …sexiness? The interview was all over the place, and poor Erskine was basically just there to listen to Glover dance around the reasons for her casting after Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s departure.
“At what point did it become clear that it wasn’t going to work with Waller-Bridge?” Glover was asked.
“I think because we were friends and I really liked Phoebe and we’d worked together…It’s a divorce in a weird way. You’re like, ‘Oh Shit, this should have worked.’ And this is just me, being honest, but I think a good relationship is one where you don’t waver from the extremely uncomfortable. And I don’t know if we were ever going to get to a place where we could be completely brutal to each other.”
He elaborated, “You’ve got to think, Fleabag was written entirely by her, they don’t really do writers rooms in the U.K. And I look back at Atlanta, and we built a culture where we could say mean things to each other or be like, ‘That idea is kind of [crap],’ and then we’d laugh. You weren’t afraid to say something—but we also had the right to roast you.”
Erskine helpfully interjected to say, “But that’s not every writers room,” and he responded:
“I don’t think we ever felt comfortable enough with each other. And that’s OK. That’s what happens when you’re two captains. It’s like, ‘This is how I run my ship.’ ‘Well, this is how I run my ship.’ And it’s such a big idea, this show, I don’t think it can have two captains. I mean, she rewrote the pilot, and I saw her script and I was like, ‘It’s definitely not my style,’ but if she’d done it with her in it, we’d all be like, ‘This is a great fucking show.’”
Sounds to me like she wanted to be in control and wrote a better show than he could—a “great fucking show” in his own words—which hurt his ego. Sad.
Erskine once again jumped in, proving she’s a girl’s girl through and through, to say, “There were some lines that were left that I could just feel were Phoebe. I’d be like, ‘Oh, I love this line. This feels like Phoebe.’”
But, ultimately, Glover didn’t think Waller-Bridge was “fully in love with the thing.”
“But I feel really good about the fact that if the thing was feeling more like hers and she was like, ‘I just love this,’ I would have been like, ‘You should have it.’”
Well, she didn’t, so I guess we’ll never know if that’s true. Then Erskine was brought in and it just clicked, apparently. Glover felt more comfortable with her because they immediately started telling each other “wild” stories and he felt like they “could say anything” to each other.
Or maybe he felt more comfortable because Erskine wasn’t writing—didn’t want to be involved in the writing process at all, by her own admission—and therefore wasn’t in control of the narrative. It was his and his alone.
Being surrounded by people (women) who don’t boss him around has been good for his self-esteem as a creator:
“And now I’m like, ‘I know I’m the shit. I put in the word. And my idea of what is cool is a better road for everybody.’ And maybe I’m wrong, but I’m like, every time I try and push it there, in general, people are like, ‘Wow, I’m glad I have that option now.’ Because I do have a vision for the world…A lot of people don’t have a vision. And look, I’m never going to be the best basketball player or an incredible wood welder. But I have a belief in the fact that if I wanted to do those things, I could. And I feel like people should believe in themselves. Part of the problem with a lot of this generation is that they don’t. And the whole cancel [culture] thing is a bit of that. Like, if I do the wrong thing, then people won’t like me, and then I’ll starve to death. And I get that that’s a real fear and I don’t want people to starve to death, but what if your idea is better than what their idea is?”
Well. I guess that answers that, then.