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All About Zazie Beetz an Harpers Bazaar Article (Exerts)

Knowing that makes watching Atlanta’s third season all the more intriguing. This time around, creator Donald Glover shows less of the eccentric foursome that is Earn (Glover); Alfred, a.k.a. Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry); Darius (LaKeith Stanfield); and, of course, the show’s leading woman, Van (Zazie Beetz), and intertwines vignettes about America’s relationship with racism. Half of this season’s episodes don’t even feature the main cast, and instead opt for 30-minute segments detailing cultural nuances such as young Black adoptees in white families, biraciality and white adjacence, and the overlooked domestic sacrifice of nannies. It’s a creative decision that has left fans divided—with some praising Glover’s approach, and others uninterested in the time spent away from the core group. -Harpers Bazaar

She’s definitely experiencing this feeling of like, “Am I a mother? Am I a partner, a lover? Am I just myself? What does that mean?” She also originally had to be stable and had to be the provider, and couldn’t really be a different version of herself. Now in some ways, Earn has taken over more of the provider role and, in some ways, even that has been taken from her. Her identity has shifted, and I don’t think she really knows who Van is.

In the beginning of her arc this season—having her steal things and having her pop in and out and acquiring different personalities and trying on different characters—it culminates ultimately into the biggest role of all, which is the final episode. -Zazie Beetz for Harpers Bazaar

You don’t really see that being said in regards to Earn. I just find that really eye-opening—like, “Wow, we do have that expectation.” It’s what also contributes largely to the pay gap for women, because our society is just set up with the emotional expectation that we’re the ones that take off work. We’re the ones that jump in when something needs to happen. I think Van is exhausted, and I think she also doesn’t just want to be a mom. I think it’s her trying to run away from that and trying to figure that out, which I get. -Zazie Beetz for Harpers Bazaar

I mean, I was really excited. We would talk a lot saying, “Oh, people are gonna be mad,” or knowing people were going to have feelings about this. So we went into it, I think, aware that having episodes where there’s no main characters or that some of the content will spark up thoughts and ideas. We also just weren’t trying to copy what we did before, but really continue to try to grow and do something else, as we’ve grown and also evolved and become different people. All of us have had profound experiences these last two years—people becoming parents, people experiencing loss—our lives were changing. -Zazie Beetz for Harpers Baazar

It definitely exploded into something more than what—I don’t wanna say what any of us expected, because I think we were all hoping for the best. But it was more of an attitude of, it’s just gonna be what it’s gonna be. I remember Donald and all of them were like, “It’s okay if it gets canceled the first season, we just wanna make this.” I think that’s ultimately the attitude that led to it being so interesting and compelling, because they were less careful about what they felt like they could and couldn’t do. -Zazie Beetz for Harpers Baazar

Saying goodbye was emotional. We knew going into it that Season 3 and Season 4 were gonna be the last seasons. So we were able to, as we were shooting it, be in that mindset and reflect on that. It wasn’t something that was sprung on us after, so everything was really intentional, and we actually leaned into each other and were more actively appreciative of the process and of the time we get to spend together versus just taking it for granted. I’m sad!

I know intellectually it’s smart for the show to end and not to drag it out. Hopefully, it’s still sort of on this high and not trying to hang on for dear life. I love Van. I feel very protective of Van. I wanna take care of her. I think maybe because of sort of the connectivity between having her, this character, be sort of the character that changed my life, I feel very connected to her. Not in a way where I think I’m still Van to this day, but more in a sense of she’s this little delicate fairy that needs somebody to, like, give her a hug and tell her it’s okay. -Zazie Beetz for Harpers Baazar

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