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Donald Glover Breaks Silence on Creative Split With Phoebe Waller-Bridge: ‘It’s Like a Real Divorce’

Donald Glover is opening up about his professional “divorce” from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, aka his original co-star in Amazon’s just-launched reboot of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Waller-Bridge dropped out of the project back in 2021, seven months into development. The “amicable split” stemmed from the Fleabag auteur having a “different creative vision for the series” than Glover, who was co-creating it with both her and his onetime Atlanta collaborator Francesca Sloane. (The Mrs. Smith void was eventually filled with PEN15‘s Maya Erskine.)

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Speaking to TVLine’s sister pub The Hollywood Reporter, Glover — who previously worked with Waller-Bridge in Solo: A Star Wars Film — likens their creative split to “a divorce,” adding “You’re like, ‘Oh s–t, this should have worked.’ And this is just me, being honest, but I think a good relationship is one where you don’t waver from the extremely uncomfortable. And I don’t know if we were ever going to get to a place where we could be completely brutal to each other.”

Glover posits that the two Emmy winners’ failure to mesh “might’ve just been cultural,” noting, “Fleabag was written entirely by her; they don’t really do writers rooms in the U.K. And I look back at Atlanta, and we built a culture where [me and the fellow writers] could say mean things to each other or be like, ‘That idea is kind of [crap],’ and then we’d laugh. You weren’t afraid to say something — but we also had the right to roast you. It’s  just how we got the laughs.

“I don’t think we ever felt comfortable enough with each other,” Glover continues. “And that’s OK. That’s what happens when you’re two captains. It’s like, ‘This is how I run my ship.’ ‘Well, this is how I run my ship.’ And it’s such a big idea, this show, I don’t think it can have two captains. I mean, she rewrote the pilot, and I saw her script and I was like, ‘It’s definitely not my style,’ but if she’d done it with her in it, we’d all be like, ‘This is a great f—ing show.'”

Reiterating that “it’s like a real divorce,” the Community vet says the “hardest part is knowing when to say it’s over. Like, when do you quit? Because you want to be cool, like, ‘Oh it’s over, that’s fine.’ But we both put a lot of work into it. We both were working really hard. So, who gets to keep the cat? But I’d brought [Sloane] in, and also, I feel like Phoebe wasn’t fully in love with the thing. But I feel really good about the fact that if the thing was feeling more like hers and she was like, ‘I just love this,’ I would have been like, ‘You should have it.'”

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