Donald Glover Celebrates ‘Absurdity of the World’ in FX’s ‘Atlanta’

Donald Glover Celebrates 'Absurdity of the
Courtesy of FX Networks

Donald Glover has graduated from “Community” to FX’s “Atlanta,” a naturalistic look at two cousins on the rise in the city’s vibrant music scene.

The half-hour series allows Glover to flex his multi-hyphenate muscles as a writer, actor and a musician who records under the name Childish Gambino.

Most of all, Glover wanted to capture the pulse of the title city and an unvarnished look at the lives of two ambitious but very different young men. His cousin is played by Brian Tyree Henry.

The series opener parachutes viewers into the world of two young men on the cusp of successful without spending much time explaining who they are and where they came from. Glover and the “Atlanta” team — including showrunner Paul Simms and director Hiro Murai, trust that the audience will come along for the ride. There’s no word yet on a premiere date, but it’s clear that FX brass are high on the show.

“I feel like the absurdity of the world — the actual real life world, I mean — is more interesting. I mean, like, Donald Trump is running for President right now. Like, when I was 8, I saw him in a Pizza Hut commercial. Like, that’s f—ing weird,” Glover told the crowd Saturday during FX’s portion of the Television Critics Association tour.

“There’s a lot of funny things that are actually happening in the world. It’s easier now to, like, do that in television, which is cool. Like, in the world, it’s very elastic, but at the same time, I think it’s more interesting now to, like, look at, like, what’s actually happening,” he said. “The tone is everything. Television shows are like novels now. You’ve just got to invest in them. So, like, I feel like the tone of this is, like, an ever it’s going to take time for people to understand what’s going on, which I think is a good thing.”

Atlanta is the perfect setting because Glover knows it well and it is an urban melting pot. “It’s a very specific type of place,” he said. “It’s the most American place,” he said. Among its colorful lowlights is a supermarket known as the “murder Krogers” because of the high number of killings that occurred there. “Atlanta” is rushing to film some scenes there before the market is torn down.

The offbeat show has an equally unusual production process, Glover said.

“The writers — we don’t have an office. They come to my house. I make food and, like, we hang out, and we talk, and we see what’s on the Internet. Like, they came over to my house yesterday,” Glover said. “I want to feel like we’re family, because I think the Internet has kind of like ruined the bacteria that’s culture. Not ruined it, but it’s just kind of turned it into something that can’t really grow.”

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