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‘Atlanta’: Donald Glover to Make TV Directorial Debut with Two Episodes

The actor, writer and rapper goes behind the camera for his new FX series.

Donald Glover on "Atlanta"

Donald Glover on “Atlanta”

Matthias Clamer/FX

Donald Glover is an artist of perpetual motion, not content to let others direct his trajectory. In the case of his new FX series “Atlanta,” this is literal.

The actor will make his television directorial debut with not one, but two episodes of “Atlanta,” which premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 6 on FX, IndieWire has learned. He helms the sixth and seventh episodes of the season, which will air Oct. 4 and 11, respectively. “Atlanta” follows two cousins Earn Marks and Alfred Miles (Glover, Brian Tyree Henry) as they try to make it in Atlanta’s music scene with their friend Darius (Lakeith Stansfield) in tow.

READ MORE: ‘Atlanta’: Donald Glover Wants You to Feel What It’s Like to Be Black

At the Television Critics Association press tour panel for the show on Tuesday, Glover touched on directing Episode 6, which changes the perspective from the main three male characters to the point of view of the show’s sole main female character, Van (Zazie Beetz). “I directed an episode that was Zazie’s character Van-centric,” he said. “It was so much fun, like, just because I was, like, ‘Can you pull that off? Oh, you can pull that off? Oh, you did it better than I expected,’ every step of the way.”

Hiro Murai, who is the main director on “Atlanta,” gave IndieWire a little more insight into the episode. “It’s actually one of my favorite episodes,” he says. “It’s a funny dynamic that she fills a role in this show because it is about these guys in this male-centric world, this hip-hop world. So I think it’ll give you a nice window into the other side of that, where Van’s coming from and … how she fits into that world rather than being like a foil or an obstacle for Earn.”

Zazie Beetz on "Atlanta"

Zazie Beetz on “Atlanta”

Matthias Clamer/FX

Murai, who has collaborated with Glover in the past on his Childish Gambino videos, added, “He definitely paid a lot of attention to how we did things, and he told me from the start that he wanted to learn all the things. I had a feeling that he’d be annoyingly good at it because he’s a very sharp dude and picks up things really fast. And as that episode turned out, I think he is a complete natural.”

READ MORE: ‘Atlanta’ Teasers: Donald Glover Had a Weird Dream in His New FX Series, and You May Too

Trying his hand at directing is the next logical career move for Glover, who has often been equal parts creator and performer. Although he’s best known as Troy on “Community,” Glover has been a writer for “30 Rock,” does standup and participated in the Derrick Comedy sketch comedy group. On the musical side, as Childish Gambino, he has released two studio albums, two EPs and seven mixtapes.

Glover has been eyeing directing for a while. He directed his first short, “Chicken and Futility,” which you can watch below. It has a similar conversational flavor to the dialogue in “Atlanta.”

“Atlanta,” which Glover created, writes, stars in and now directs, premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 10pm on FX. Watch dreamy teasers for “Atlanta.”

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