Mr. and Mrs. Smith: Donald Glover Explains Why It Didn’t Work with Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Mr. and Mrs. Smith Stars Donald Glover and Maya Erskine
In a recent interview, Donald Glover opened up about why his Mr. and Mrs. Smith series didn’t work with Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The two were originally set to co-write and star in the Prime Video reimagining of the 2005 movie of the same name, but Waller-Bridge exited the project due to creative differences.
Glover explained that he and Waller-Bridge are friends, and he really liked working with her on Solo: A Star Wars Film. However, he said that they struggled to find a common ground when it came to the creative direction of the Mr. and Mrs. Smith series.
“I think because we were friends and I really liked Phoebe and we’d worked together … it’s a divorce in a weird way,” Glover told The Hollywood Reporter. “You’re like, ‘Oh s—, 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.”
Cultural Differences and Creative Vision
Glover also suggested that their cultural differences may have played a role in their creative disagreements. Waller-Bridge is from the U.K., where writers’ rooms are not as common as they are in the U.S. Glover, on the other hand, is used to working in a writers’ room, where he can get feedback from other writers and producers.
“It might’ve just been cultural,” Glover said. “Fleabag was written entirely by her, they don’t really do writers rooms in the U.K.” He remembered how on his previous show, Atlanta, he had “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,” Glover added. “It’s just how we got the laughs … I don’t think [Waller-Bridge and I] ever felt comfortable enough with each other.”
Maya Erskine Takes Over
After Waller-Bridge left the project, Maya Erskine (Pen15) took over her role as Jane Smith. Glover said that he and Erskine worked well together, and they were able to create a series that was true to their own creative visions.
“We just laid more into Maya,” Glover said. “We came up with a lot of things on set and improved things on set. The big thing was playing to Maya’s strengths. And I had a learning curve of her work because I only really knew her from Pen15, which is a very obviously different character — she’s playing a child — so I had to do some research on what is Maya really like? And we had to do a lot of fighting and that kind of stuff, so I think we just tailored it to what makes Maya Maya, and I think she really shined because of that.”
The first season of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is now streaming on Prime Video.
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