Last night, Atlanta's 41-minute commercial-free episode, the sixth of the season, aired and it was very strange.
Vulture was able to speak with Derrick Haywood, the actor who played Benny Hope, about the episode, how it came together, and what it was like shooting it. Frankly, it sounds lightweight terrifying. Haywood, who previously played the role of a bartender in season one of Atlanta, got an email from his agent asking if he'd be interested in working on the show again. A week later, he was called in for a fitting and was shooting the scene the following day.
"I got the sides for the role at 1.a.m the day before I filmed the first scene! It was a very difficult role. After watching the episode last night, if I had known the entire script, my approach to the character would’ve changed drastically," Haywood told Vulture. "It was so challenging to the point that, in between setup and breakdown on set, I had to practice in the wheelchair because I had never been in one before. It was an amazing experience. How it even came about still astonishes me to this day."
Haywood only knew what was going down on set for his scenes, probably because they were trying to keep the contents of the episode under wraps, he suggests. Haywood also talks about initially not knowing that the character of Teddy was played by Glover and divulged that Glover stayed in character while on set.
"Initially, I had no idea that Teddy Perkins was actually played by Donald Glover. I was on set, and the director [Hiro Murai] called 'Teddy' to come over and said, 'Let’s see what Teddy thinks.' I’m like, 'Okay, who is this Teddy guy and why is his opinion so important?' Because I had never heard of the guy before," Haywood revealed. "Later, going through and watching, when I say this guy was in character the whole time on set — it was just amazing the commitment he brought to the character." Weird.
Haywood continued, "They were calling him Teddy, he acted as Teddy. There was no Donald on set whatsoever. I kid you not. Our engagement on season one compared to our engagement on this episode was drastically different. He was really Teddy Perkins on set."
Head to Vulture to read the full interview.
And if you missed it, and want to take a deeper dive into the "Teddy Perkins" episode, make sure you head here.