After taking 2017 off, Atlanta returns for season two on Thursday. And with that premiere date in mind, Donald Glover got the fancy New Yorker profile treatment. The whole thing is worth reading (for instance, apparently Glover is a huge fan of Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away because Tom Hanks is “just scrapping sh*t together, and it feels so real”), but there’s one anecdote that stands out.
There’s never been anything on TV quite like Atlanta. It shares elements of Louie and Girls, but even the latter’s creator, Lena Dunham, points out that the show’s toggling “between painful drama and super-surrealist David Lynch moments to take on race in America” isn’t a genre — “it’s Donald.” Glover knew that getting Atlanta on air was going to be challenge, so he wrote a “normal” pilot (at least compared to later episodes like “B.A.N.”) to “Trojan horse” FX.
“I knew what FX wanted from me,” Glover said. “They were thinking it’d be me and Craig Robinson horse-tailing around, and it’ll be kind of like Community, and it’ll be on for a long time. I was Trojan-horsing FX. If I told them what I really wanted to do, it wouldn’t have gotten made.” Donald’s brother, Stephen (who’s also a writer on the show and the House Party reboot), added, “Donald promised, ‘Earn and Al work together to make it in the rough music industry. Al got famous for shooting someone and now he’s trying to deal with fame, and I’ll have a new song for him every week. Darius will be the funny one, and the gang’s going to be all together.’ That was the Trojan horse.” Also, cookies.
Network executives had notes about the pilot, of course, most of them “meddlesome,” but Glover received solid advice from the only man at FX who really matters, CEO John Landgraf: “The parts that you’re worried we’re going to think are too weird — lean into those.” I think he listened.
(Via The New Yorker)