How do you replace someone as iconic as Brad Pitt? That’s the challenge that Donald Glover found himself facing when he took on the role of John Smith in the Prime Video adaptation of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” which he co-created alongside Francesca Sloane. Glover’s take on the material is considerably more grounded than the 2005 Doug Liman film, but he still sought Pitt’s advice before stepping into his shoes.
Appearing on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Glover recalled having a brief conversation with Pitt before taking on the role. The “Atlanta” hyphenate explained that Pitt didn’t offer much substantive advice about the character and relied on his movie star charm to get out of the conversation.
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“He didn’t give me any real pointers,” Glover said. “He kind of Brad Pitt-ed his way out of it. He just kind of like charmed his way. He was like, ‘Yeah, you know, you’ll do great.'”
It’s possible that Glover would not have needed Pitt’s advice anyway, as he has always maintained that his series shares little actual DNA with the film that inspired it.
“It’s definitely going to be different for a lot of people, which I think is good,” Glover said in a 2023 interview with Entertainment Weekly. “You can always go back and watch the old one, but this one gives you a different feeling. People are definitely going to be shocked. I just know how much people love the other one, so if everybody’s like, ‘Eh,’ we didn’t do a good job. I hope some people are like, ‘This is better than the original,’ and some people are like, ‘This is far worse.’”
Glover’s updated take on “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” has received mixed reactions, with some decrying its differences from the film and others praising it for offering a more relatable take on marriage in the 2020s.
“As an allegory for work/life balance, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’ is consistently strong. As a convincing portrait of two people falling in love, there are a few early hitches before it finds its groove,” IndieWire’s Ben Travers wrote in his review of the series. “On the one hand, the series makes it known that smoldering heat is not a priority; there’s bits of barf and broken body parts, powerful farts and funny faces. This ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’ is interested in Robin Williams’ version of intimacy more than Brangelina’s orbit-altering magnetism. Still, John and Jane’s initial connection should feel legitimate and earned, rather than the clumsily orchestrated match-making seen here. The series isn’t designed for the actors to create that first spark themselves, and they can’t, but once we’re past the awkward courtship phase and months into their love affair, their comfort with one another builds a palpable intimacy.”
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