Advertisement

Phoebe Waller-Bridge Exited "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," And Now, Donald Glover Is Explaining What Happened

Mr. & Mrs. Smith on Amazon Prime Video is everything I want in a witty, suspenseful TV show.

Screenshot from "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"
David Lee / ©Amazon/MGM Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

The series about two highly-trained assassins randomly paired together as a married couple features Donald Glover alongside Maya Erskine, and the on-screen chemistry of these legendary BIPOC series costars is refreshing.

Closeup of Donald Glover
Samir Hussein / Samir Hussein / WireImage, Karwai Tang / WireImage

If you remember, Donald is the creator and star of Atlanta.

Screenshot from "Atlanta"
Oliver Upton / ©FX / Courtesy Everett Collection

Maya is a creator and star of PEN15.

Screenshot from "PEN15"
Alex Lombardi / ©Hulu/Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

Basically, them together in Mr. & Mrs. Smith is the perfect marriage of comedic genius.

Screenshot from
David Lee / ©Amazon/MGM Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection, Mike Marsland / Mike Marsland/WireImage

But did you know that Phoebe Waller-Bridge was originally supposed to be part of the show? (gasp)

Closeup of Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Karwai Tang / WireImage

I'm absolutely obsessed with Fleabag, so the idea of Phoebe opposite Donald sounds incredible. Unfortunately, it didn't work in the end, and the series creators went their separate ways.

Screenshot from "Fleabag"
©Amazon / courtesy Everett Collection

Donald and Phoebe, who both starred in Solo: A Star Wars Story, teamed up for a new project that would potentially bring together their creative genius in holy matrimony.

Screenshot from "Solo: A Star Wars Story"
Null / ©Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett / Everett Collection

They were set as co-creators and stars of the straight-to-series adaptation of one of my all-time favorite films, 2005's Mr. & Mrs. Smith, starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Screenshot from the "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" series
20thcentfox / 20th Century Fox Licensing/Merchandising / Everett Collection

But, the series hit a snag when it was announced in 2021 that Phoebe was walking away from the project while Donald was staying on board.

Phoebe told Vanity Fair, “I worked on that show for six months fully in heart and mind and really cared about it — still care about it. And I know it’s gonna be brilliant. But sometimes it’s about knowing when to leave the party. You don’t want to get in the way of a vision.”

Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Alberto Pizzoli / AFP via Getty Images

"Creative collaboration is like a marriage, and some marriages don’t work out," she said.

Closeup of Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Now, Donald is sharing his side of the story, and it really sounds like a couple of parents trying to remain supportive of each other for their kids. In this case, the Prime Video series is the baby.

Speaking about Phoebe's exit from the series, Donald told THR, "It’s a divorce in a weird way. You’re like, 'Oh shit, 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."

Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Donald Glover
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for BAFTA LA

He continued, "It might’ve just been cultural. You’ve got to think, Fleabag was written entirely by her, they don’t really do writers rooms in the UK. And I look back at Atlanta, and we built a culture where we 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."

Closeup of Donald Glover
Samir Hussein / Samir Hussein / WireImage

"I don’t think we ever felt comfortable enough with each other. 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," Donald said. "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 fucking show.'"

Closeup of Donald Glover
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

"It’s like a real divorce where 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?"

Maya Erskine, Francesca Sloane, and Donald Glover
Dave Benett / Jed Cullen/Dave Benett / WireImage

While a Phoebe/Donald show didn't work out, at least we got a captivating Amazon series with Maya in the divorce.

Screenshot from "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"
David Lee / ©Amazon/MGM Studios/ Courtesy Everett Collection

Stream Mr. & Mrs. Smith on Amazon Prime Video.