ET Obsessions: Donald Glover, ‘Tully,’ Lauren Ambrose in ‘My Fair Lady’ and More!
By Stacy Lambe
NBC / Sundance Now / Focus Features / Joan Marcus / Gimlet
Here at ET, we’re obsessed with all things pop culture -- and here’s what we’re most excited about this week:
Why We’re Obsessed With Donald Glover
Donald Glover is certainly the man of the hour -- or rather, the month of May -- thanks to an overlap of high-profile projects that demonstrate his wide appeal, even if not everyone realizes just how diverse his talents really are. Over the weekend, he hosted one of the best episodes of Saturday Night Live’s 43rd season, aping his friends, Migos, in the brilliant “Friendos” sketch and debuting two new songs -- “This Is America” and “Saturday” -- under his GRAMMY-winning musical alias, Childish Gambino. He followed it up with the surprise drop of the powerful new music video for “This Is America,” which is layered with references to Jim Crow, gun violence, cell phone recordings of police brutality and media’s indifference. Directed by Hiro Murai, the video comes ahead of Thursday’s finale of Atlanta: Robbin’ Season(which Murai also directs), Glover’s disturbingly funny look at the Georgian city during desperate times leading up to the holidays. The month ends with the actor taking on his most anticipated role as Lando Calrissian in the latest Star Wars installment, Solo: A Star Wars Story -- a movie that will undoubtedly see him steal every scene he’s in.
From Sharon Horgan -- creator of Amazon’s Catastropheand HBO’s Divorce-- comes a new, bitterly funny comedy about motherhood. The seven-episode series follows Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) as she struggles to keep it all together while trying to keep up with fellow moms led by queen bee Amanda (Lucy Punch). Motherland sees Julia confronting her frenemy in one episode, struggling with over-committing to her children’s school in another, and the chaos that is hosting a children’s birthday party. Co-written by Graham Linehan, Helen Linehan and Holly Walsh, Horgan, who is a mother of two children, reveals to ET that the show is very much rooted in the real-life experiences of being a parent and “realizing there was a lot of comedy and tragedy in that set-up.” As for fans of Catastrophe, which is another bitterly honest and funny series, Horgan says that she hopes they see the same level of truthfulness in Motherland, which features characters “who are genuine people who f**k up and make mistakes.”
Tully marks the third collaboration between director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody following Juno and Young Adult, and proves that these two creatives are perfectly suited for each other. The film, starring Charlize Theron (who also led Young Adult) as a mother who comes to rely on a nanny (Mackenzie Davis) soon after the birth of her third child, unwinds a pitch black comedy into a sentimental statement about modern motherhood that comes packed with an unexpected twist ending. No spoilers here, but Theron delivers a standout, raw performance that hasn’t been as funny or dark since Young Adult. “The struggle is real for everybody,” Theron stresses to ET. “What's beautiful about this film, it's unifying. It makes you realize that nobody has it easier than you or they don't experience any of those things. It's messy.”
Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of My Fair Lady is not one to be missed. While the idea of a self-assured phonetics professor Henry Higgins (The Crown’s Harry Hadden-Paton) wagering that he can pass off a working-class woman (Eliza Doolittle played by Lauren Ambrose) as a person of class may not hold up entirely in the Time’s Up era, the show works largely due to the strength of Ambrose’s impressive and Tony-nominated performance. The former Six Feet Under star tells ET that the show has challenged her physically, mentally and spiritually, but the efforts have paid off with 10 total nominations for the production. Though tiny in stature, Ambrose is larger than life, not dwarfed by Catherine Zuber’s lavish costumes, including the iconic oversized hat that Eliza dons for an afternoon out with a new class of acquaintances, or the impressive set, which features a full house rotating on the apron stage.
This is the true story … of six strangers … picked to live in an imitation Mars habitat … and have their lives studied … to find out what happens … when people stop being polite … and start making you second guess at having signed up for this year-long scientific endeavor. While The Real World has been absent from relevance of late, a new podcast from Gimlet has arrived to fill the void. Hosted by Lynn Levy, The Habitat chronicles a group of people who volunteered to help NASA prepare for a real mission to Mars by living together under the same dome on a remote volcano in Hawaii for an entire year. (The show follows the crew of the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation mission IV, which concluded in 2016.) Using audio diaries from the co-habitants, Levy breaks down NASA’s goals for the experiment and how the group responded to several unexpected challenges. And yes, there’s drama, which is both fascinating and frightening when you realize what drives the crew members apart and together.