Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Donald Glover dons a lion skin to talk Lion King, Beyoncé, and the end of Childish Gambino

Donald Glover, Jimmy Kimmel
Donald Glover, Jimmy Kimmel
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Donald Glover’s Disney employers are getting their money’s worth, is all that can be said, as multi-hyphenate, multi-media superstar Donald Glover showed up across the street from the Hollywood premiere of the live action Lion King remake in a lion suit. Sitting down for an extended chat with Jimmy Kimmel—whose Jimmy Kimmel Live! studio sits in close proximity to the Dolby Theatre premiere venue—Glover deadpanned his way through the host’s questions in his suspiciously onesie-looking lion skin. Claiming that the Jim Henson people had spent five years getting the look just right, Glover, his salt-and-pepper beard poking out through the face-hole, was as relaxed and charming as only an award-winning celebrity can be in a no-doubt hot and itchy lion suit.

Asked by Kimmel about his upcoming Australian make-up dates as musical alter ego Childish Gambino, Glover played it somewhat cagey about his announced retirement of the Gambino moniker. “I think I’m still going to do shows,” said Glover, adding, “I love music.” As to the reason for the make-up shows (Glover broke his foot onstage back in September), Glover did his finest slow-burn in response to Kimmel asking if that was the most embarrassing thing to happen to him onstage. “You know what, no,” responded Glover after an expertly timed gesture toward his lion-clad tummy.


Still Glover soldiered on, speaking to his relief that Solo filming meant he was spared having to be in the same room with Lion King co-star and love interest Beyoncé while they dueted. Asked if the prospect of recording separately was less intimidating, even for a Grammy-winner such as himself, Glover clapped back smoothly, “Yeah. I guess it’s less intimidating playing basketball with Michael Jordan if you’re at home, just throwing pieces of paper in the trash.” As to his role as Simba in the “photo-real” GCI extravaganza, Glover told Kimmel he tried to play it cool with his Lion King fanatic young son about his involvement, although the boy somehow already knew that Beyoncé was in it. “How did you know that?,” Glover says he asked the boy, before abandoning all pretense of coolness by boasting, “And also daddy’s in it.”

Glover also shared stores of famously getting hired to work as a writer on 30 Rock while still living as an R.A. in the NYC dorms. (He claims he spent all his unaccustomed money on “Gushers,” since he wasn’t allowed candy as a kid.) And regarding whether he’s hard at work on the third season of his award-winning series Atlanta, Glover told Kimmel to keep it down, since, as he put it, “I think my contract says I have to say yes. This is a script for Atlanta if anybody asks.” So look for an episode where Earn’s stop-and-start rise to success involves him appearing on a late-night talk show in an animal costume.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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