Atlanta came back for its third season last night, reintroducing us to the frequently chaotic, deliberately surreal lives of Earn, Paper Boi, Darius, and Van. And almost Ryan Gosling, apparently: That’s per an interview that series star and creator Donald Glover gave at the show’s premiere event last night, revealing that he and Gosling had been in talks to have the two-time Oscar-nominee appear on the show’s third-season premiere.
“He said he was a big fan, but he had something else, and it just didn’t work out,” Glover said, per People. “I was so bummed because the part was so great for him!” Glover stated that talks had gone far enough that he and Gosling had even spoken on the phone about the episode, before the casting plans eventually fell through.
Now, the obvious question here, in light of last night’s premiere, is who the hell Gosling would have played—especially since the season finale was one of the show’s occasional bouts of extreme off-model storytelling, skipping out on Earn and the rest of the crew in favor of a half-hour horror story tapping into a whole raft of anxieties centered on a young man named Loquareeous, played by Christopher Farrar.
We do have one obvious, suspect, thought: The unnamed white guy on the fishing boat at the start of the episode, who tells a whole other creepy monologue about horror inflicted on Black people in America, before going full jumpscare mode at the end. Actor Tobias Segal does a great job with the part, undeniably, but it’s not hard to imagine Gosling’s low-key charm shading into creepy as the diatribe continued.
Still: For a season premiere as bold as Atlanta had, it feels practically greedy to go hunting for something even better. Fingers crossed that Gosling kept Glover’s number, though.
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