The talented writers originally joined hands on rebooting the 2005 action-comedy movie into an Amazon series but ultimately split due to creative differences. While Waller-Bridge has been charmingly diplomatic in her reasons, Glover is being a little more candid about the break.
“It’s a divorce in a weird way,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Wednesday. “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,” Glover continued, adding, “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 U.K.”
The acclaim for her series saw Waller-Bridge hired for rewrites on the latest “James Bond” film, starring roles in the “Indiana Jones” franchise and a part opposite Glover in 2018’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” After working together on “Solo,” Glover approached Waller-Bridge to star in and help write the “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” reboot.
The original film famously starred Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a married couple of competing assassins tasked with killing each other. Unlike that duo — who arguably had a little too much chemistry at the time — Glover and Waller-Bridge simply didn’t work out.
Waller-Bridge was originally cast in Jolie’s part; she was replaced with Maya Erskine and entirely removed as a co-writer, according to IMDb credits for the series. Glover explained in the interview that the kind of writers room culture he created for his “Atlanta” series might’ve thrown Waller-Bridge off.
“You weren’t afraid to say something — but we also had the right to roast you,” he said. “It’s just how we got the laughs … 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.”
Glover and Waller-Bridge were cast in Pitt and Jolie's parts, respectively, before the latter left.
The former co-stars had originally announced the project with enthusiastic Instagram posts, only for Waller-Bridge to exit in 2021. Glover revealed that her rewritten work had simply not been his “style,” but that he would’ve handed her the show if she wanted it.
“I feel like Phoebe wasn’t fully in love with the thing,” he said. “But I feel really good about the fact that if the thing was feeling more like hers and she was like, ‘I just love this,’ I would have been like, ‘You should have it.’”
Waller-Bridge herself spoke about the reasons for her exit last year and, perhaps most poignantly, echoed Glover’s sentiment that creative collaboration is like “a marriage” — and that “sometimes marriages don’t work out.”
“I worked on that show for six months fully in heart and mind and really cared about it — still care about it,” she told Vanity Fair in a 2023 interview. “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.”