It’s got to feel pretty good to be Donald Glover right now. The actor is finishing up production on the Han Solo movie in London, and in September he’ll get back to work on “Atlanta,” the acclaimed FX television series that redefined him as an auteur visionary. The series is up for six Emmy nominations, four of which could yield Glover some hardware (he’s competing for best comedy series, acting, writing, and directing). Glover has already conquered film, television, and music (his third studio album under Childish Gambino was released last December), but he’s only just getting started.
The artist recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for an in-depth interview about his career so far, and he attributed his meteoric rise to one simple tip: “You have to make people feel comfortable. You have to make them understand that you speak their language — that you speak old white man.”
Glover knows a thing or to about making people feel comfortable. Pitching “Atlanta” to FX was no easy task. He had to assure the network he knew what he was doing after he decided to take the unconventional route and hire writers and directors who had never worked in television before. Even the cast — Brian Tyree Henry, Keith Stanfield, and Zazie Beetz — were mostly newcomers to most viewers, and let’s not even get into the radical storytelling, which could sideline the leading star (that would be Glover) for an entire episode.
“I often feel like those explorers who go into the Amazon and then become friends with the tribe,” said Glover, “or like Jane Goodall with monkeys, where it’s like, ‘I’m just going to follow you guys around for a while and then you’ll realize, Well, she hasn’t tried to steal one of our babies or eat any of our food, so she can’t be that bad, you guys. Let’s let her see how we mate and stuff; she’ll be fine.'”
“I want to be like Spike Jonze, in a sense,” he adds, “where I’m like, ‘I do what I want when I want to do it, and trust me because I also want to make you money.'” That method worked out incredibly with “Atlanta,” and there’s no reason Glover shouldn’t be able to strike gold again.
“Atlanta” Season 2 begins production next month, and suffice to say the pressure is on. Glover is remaining tight lipped on what to expect, just as he did the first go around, but he does tease that Season 2 won’t be playing it safe. Fans of “Atlanta” wouldn’t expect anything less.
“I don’t want to go into season two [with the mindset of] ‘Enough people liked it so just keep those people,'” he said, “because then you begin to give your audience a methadone drip of bullshit that keeps them happy as opposed to, ‘We did something controversial and more people were interested.'”
Glover delayed the start of production on “Atlanta” so that he could spend much of the year working on the Han Solo movie. But the delay ended up being a good thing, as it forced the “Atlanta” creative team to take their time and not rush ahead of themselves to compete with what they achieved in the first season.
“I’m not the type of person to rush anything,” Golver said during a recent interview on Clara Amfo’s BBC Radio 1 show. “I feel like if you rush it, you’ll start to get something you don’t want and then you start to question why you even liked it. I’m not gonna make anything until it’s ready. But to be completely honest, [Season 2 is] almost ready. I’m pretty happy with a lot of the things, and I think it’s better than the first season.”
The actor can currently be seen in a minor supporting role in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” The Han Solo movie, which Ron Howard is wrapping up after the firing of Chris Miller and Phil Lord, will debut in theaters May 25, 2018. In addition to “Atlanta” Season 2, Glover and his brother, Stephen, are developing an animated “Deadpool” series for FX. And for any Childish Gambino fans, Glover says he’s been working on music in his spare time in London.
So yeah, Glover is only just getting started. Head over to The Hollywood Reporter for more of his interview, including his thoughts on the Miller and Lord debacle.