Donald Glover Talks Chevy Chase, Elon Musk and "Trojan-Horsing FX" in Candid Interview
In a candid interview with The New Yorker, the 'Atlanta' star also revealed that he endured racist jokes from former 'Community' co-star Chevy Chase.
Donald Glover wants to make it clear that when it comes to the multihyphenate's storytelling, no one does it better, according to a candid interview published Monday in The New Yorker.
Discussing his rise to fame after creating and starring on his FX show Atlanta, the actor says he has received praise for his work thus far, leading him to believe that he now holds a “power” in Hollywood and has failed to find something that he’s “bad at” — except for dealing with people.
"People don’t like to be studied, or bested. I’m fine with it. I don’t really like people that much," Glover told the magazine. "People accept me now because I have power, but they still think, 'Oh, he thinks he’s the golden flower of the black community, thinks he’s so different.”
With an ease and confidence in his role in Hollywood, Glover recalled feeling as if Atlanta's 2013 premiere was going to fail. “I knew what FX wanted from me,” he 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.”
After its first season, the series went on to win two Golden Globes and Emmys. The show's second season is set to premiere Thursday on FX.
Later in the conversation, Glover said he feels as if he has been "chosen" to lend his voice to Hollywood: “I feel like Jesus. I do feel chosen. My struggle is to use my humanity to create a classic work — but I don’t know if humanity is worth it, or if we’re going to make it. I don’t know if there’s much time left.”
Glover also said that he has received praise from other Hollywood stars, including Chris Rock and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. "He can push the envelope in all these different areas,” Coogler said of Glover. “And it’s not that difficult for him.” Meanwhile, Glover recalled Rock informing him that "Atlanta is the best show on TV, period."
Girls creator Lena Dunham also commended Glover for pushing the boundaries with Atlanta. "At least twenty people have told me, ‘I’d like to make something like Atlanta. ’And I say, ‘Oh, you mean a show that toggles between painful drama and super-surrealist David Lynch moments to take on race in America?’ That’s not a genre — that’s Donald,” Dunham told the magazine.
Though Glover has his fair share of fans that are Hollywood stars, he and Community creator Dan Harmon revealed that the actor had to endure racist quips from his former Community co-star Chevy Chase.
“Chevy was the first to realize how immensely gifted Donald was, and the way he expressed his jealousy was to try to throw Donald off," Harmon said in Glover's profile story. "I remember apologizing to Donald after a particularly rough night of Chevy’s non-P.C. verbiage, and Donald said, ‘I don’t even worry about it.'"
“I just saw Chevy as fighting time — a true artist has to be O.K. with his reign being over," Glover said of Chase. "I can’t help him if he’s thrashing in the water. But I know there’s a human in there somewhere — he’s almost too human.” (Chase said of Glover's statement, “I am saddened to hear that Donald perceived me in that light.”)
Now finding success in both film, television and music, Glover admits that he hasn't seen anyone match his work and talent in the industry, but holds admiration for Elon Musk. “I don’t see anyone out there who’s better,” he said. “Maybe Elon Musk. But I don’t know yet if he’s a supervillain. Elon is working on ways for storytelling not to be the best way of spreading information.”
Glover also explained how he is unsure who he envisions himself being in the future.
“The thing I imagine myself being in the future doesn’t exist yet. I wish it was just ‘Oh, I’ll be Oprah,’ or ‘I’ll be Dave Chappelle.’ But it’s not that. It’s something different and more, something involving fairness and restoring a sense of honor. Sometimes I dream of it, but how do you explain a dream where you never see your father, but you know that that’s him over your shoulder? It’d be nice to feel less lonely.”