Donald Glover knows he’s not Brad Pitt, and in his new series “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” he’s not trying to be.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the actor and series co-creator talks about the moody new series that “is going to be different for a lot of people.”
The eight-episode series, which will premiere early next year on Amazon Prime Video, stars Glover alongside “Pen15” star Maya Erskine. The “Atlanta” actor said he’s hoping for strong reactions to the series.
“You can always go back and look at the old one, but this one gives you a different feeling. People are definitely going to be shocked,” he said. “I just know how much people love each other. So if everyone says ‘Eh,’ we haven’t done a good job.
“I hope some people will say, ‘It’s better than the original,’ and others will say, ‘It’s much worse,'” he continued.
Co-created by Glover and Atlanta writer Francesca Sloane, the series follows Glover and Erskine as the titular spy couple, originally played by Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the 2005 film of the same name.
The reboot’s plot is completely different and takes a deeper spy thriller approach.
In the film, the married couple realizes that they are both spies working for rival agencies and have been hired to kill each other. In the series, two lonely strangers sign up for a mysterious spy agency, unaware that their new identity would be that of a married couple.
This sort of arranged marriage is tested during high-stakes missions throughout the series.
“I had never seen the movie, which I know was sacrilege,” Glover told the outlet, adding that he decided to watch it after a producer friend acquired the rights. “I looked at it and honestly, I was like, ‘I don’t understand.’ I mean, I understand why it’s iconic because of the people playing it – they’re just two beautiful people in that situation. But I didn’t quite understand the story. I called my brother and he m ‘said, ‘It’s just a great date movie. It’s boys versus girls. What else do you want?'”
Glover said he wanted a deeper take on the show, about marriage and relationships.
“Why do people still get married? Half of it ends in divorce – what’s the point?” » said Glover. “Let’s make a show about relationships, but from that perspective, focusing more on what a marriage actually is, trust, teamwork, loneliness and all that. I just wanted it to be something something that speaks to people right now because in a time of abundance, why do we feel alone?”
Phoebe Waller-Bridge was originally set to play Mrs. Smith and serve as executive producer before leaving the role over “creative differences.”
With Erskine now in the role, she told the publication that she jumped at the chance to play a more relatable version of Jolie’s character.
“I tend to play characters who feel like social rejects, and my Jane felt like she was the rejected version of Angelina Jolie,” she said. “Angelina and Brad are untouchable in the sense that you can’t recreate that, and Donald and I are so different that it was exciting to play a couple that you might recognize as your friends or yourself.”
But Erskine emphasizes that the series remains above all a spy thriller.
“You have your cake and you eat it too, because you have the explosions and the chases and the fight scenes and the sex, but you also get to see the nuances of a relationship, with the fart jokes and whatnot. “It’s like living with someone and being annoyed by their mouth noises after being together for six months,” she said.
Glover apparently also watched “The Golden Bachelor,” comparing the “Smith” reboot to the reality show.
“You watch ‘The Golden Bachelor,’ and it’s such a different show than the usual ‘Bachelor’ show — you actually care about these people, and because they’re older, it feels like it may not happen again,” he said. “Sorry, I watched ‘The Golden Bachelor’ last night, so that’s a priority, but you hear what I’m saying. It’s really about their relationship and can they trust each other? That’s what espionage is all about.”
All eight episodes of Mr. and Mrs. Smith debut February 2, 2024 on Amazon Prime Video.
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