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Anybody Could John Or A Jane

In the ever-evolving landscape of television where reboots are normalized, Mr. and Mrs. Smith emerges as a refreshing take on established material. Starring Donald Glover and Maya Erskine and helmed by co-creator Francesca Sloane, the series was highlighted at Deadline’s Contenders Television awards-season event, where the duo delved into the creative process behind the innovative adaptation.

The Prime Video series follows two strangers who are recruited by a mysterious organization to act as married spies named John and Jane Smith. This setup paves the way for high-stakes espionage entangled with evolving personal dynamics.

As Erskine put it on the panel, “The couple must work through missions as their espionage skills, and developing relationship, are put to the test as they try not to get killed in the process.”

One might wonder how Erskine and Glover fostered believable chemistry on screen. Erskine, on the panel with Sloane, shared a pivotal moment.

“I think it was in the subway scene and Donald and I started sharing secrets that were embarrassing about ourselves. It opened up a whole world of, ‘Oh, good. We can say that in front of each other. You’re not going to judge me.’ So then we just completely bonded and grew really close after that.” The connection off-camera translated into a portrayal of a nuanced relationship on-screen.

Sloane, reflecting on the motivation behind the reboot, emphasized the necessity of originality. “We knew that if we were going to do something like this, we wanted it to be very original because I think a lot of people have fatigue from these reboots. The idea of having these two normal people felt like such a great way to sort of access them. Anybody could be a John or a Jane,” she explained.

Erskine recounted the joy of filming, a sentiment that resonated within the cast and crew. “Getting to film with people that you admire and then also become your best friends. It’s like, those two don’t always come hand in hand and I just feel so lucky. So it was really just getting to become a family with you guys.”

The season concludes with a cliffhanger, leaving the fate of the heroes up to the audience’s imagination. Sloane creatively addresses this, saying, “My answer is not going to be as satisfying as you want but it is the truth. It’s for three different kinds of people … If you are a glass-half-full person, you believe that they both get out alive. If you are glass half empty, they did not, and if you’re more of a realistic person, you assume that maybe one of them is alive.”

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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