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‘Atlanta’: Donald Glover Stayed in Whiteface as Teddy Perkins Throughout the Filming of Breakout Episode

In less than 24 hours, "Teddy Perkins" has become one of the most acclaimed and talked about "Atlanta" episodes.



FX Productions

Following the April 5 episode of “Atlanta,” it’s safe to assume that fans of Donald Glover’s FX series will never forget the name “Teddy Perkins.” The half hour has become one of the series’ most talked about episodes, not least because Glover appears in whiteface as a mansion owner who lures Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) to his home under the guise of selling a free piano.

“Teddy Perkins” earned universal acclaim from critics (read IndieWire’s A review), and Glover’s whiteface left fans baffled and freaked out. It turns out the “Atlanta” creator’s appearance did the same for the actors on set of the Hiro Murai-directed episode. Vulture spoke with Derrick Haywood, the actor who played Teddy’s brother Benny Hope, and he said he didn’t even recognize Glover at first during filming.

“Initially, I had no idea that Teddy Perkins was actually played by Donald Glover,” Haywood said, noting that Glover stayed in character with his makeup and high-pitched voice throughout the entirety of filming. The director called ‘Teddy’ over [on set] and said, ‘Let’s see what Teddy thinks.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, who is this Teddy guy and why is his opinion so important?’”

Haywood’s mind was blown when it was revealed Teddy was actually Glover in whiteface. The actor said Glover was so in character during filming that no one on set felt like the real Glover was working on the episode.

“When I say this guy was in character the whole time, it was just amazing the commitment he brought,” Haywood said. “We were calling him Teddy, he acted as Teddy – there was no Donald on set whatsoever.”

“Atlanta” Season 2 airs Thursday nights at 10pm ET on FX.

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