Earlier this month, Donald Glover won a Golden Globe for his performance in Atlanta, the sometimes-surreal comedy which he also produced, directed and created. New episodes of the show, which also won a Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy, won’t come until 2018, but Glover’s already set to make more television at FX. A new profile of Glover from next month’s Wired details how difficult making the show was in the first place, and how even though the network ultimately trusted Glover’s vision, there were several obstacles along the way.
To make Atlanta as authentic as possible, Glover did something truly radical for Hollywood: He hired an all-black writing team. “It wasn’t a conscious decision, really,” he told Wired. “I knew I wanted people with similar experiences who understood the language and the mind-set of the characters and their environment.” He also wanted to make a show that could defy genre, blending drama, comedy, and music while also dealing with serious and relevant issues “like mass incarceration, poverty, drug use, and fatherhood in the black community.” Hiring an all-black team—regardless of television experience—was the only way to make his vision happen. FX president and general manager John Landgraf admitted that Glover didn’t articulate his vision for Atlanta in a way that the executives understood, but they were impressed by his passion and ambition.
The profile also dives into how Glover and Hiro Murai, who directed several episodes of Atlanta and also some of Glover’s music videos as Childish Gambino, experimented with different visual aspects of the show, even finding the best ways to light black people. You can read the full profile, which also discusses Glover’s music career, here.