donald glover on his very exciting new movies

magic mike xxl, anyone?

photo via getty images

Since abruptly leaving NBC's cult comedy Community in 2013, Donald Glover has been moving further away from his reputation as a comedian, focusing instead on his rapping career as Childish Gambino (although even that is now up in the air), and a bunch of movie roles that could help redefine his professional trajectory. In The Lazarus Effect, which hits theaters today, Donald Glover is stepping out of his comedic comfort zone and into the dark, menacing corners of the horror genre. In the film, he plays one in a team of scientists who helps revive their colleague (Olivia Wilde) after she accidentally dies. If you've seen the trailer, then we do not have to tell you that everything goes to hell from there. Glover, who's been addressing some interesting Spider-Man rumors in recent interviews, also has upcoming roles in the Ridley Scott space saga The Martian and in Magic Mike XXL, both of which he touches on below. 

You’re mainly known for comedy. How was it doing horror like this? Can you tell if you’re getting it right?
I can feel it sometimes but most of the time you don’t know. That’s why it’s a little scary, because you don’t know if you’re pulling it off. You just have to trust the director’s honest and getting what he needs. 

And are you getting what you need in Magic Mike XXL?
I’m kind of keeping it quiet, but yeah, I’m in it. I did have to get waxed, so that’s a hint. I just want people to be surprised by the whole event. It’s really not a movie, it feels like an event. It really does feel really big. 

Waxed? Is that just another day at the barbershop?
It wasn’t a walk in the park. It’s definitely something I’ve never done before. 

But I don’t care how ripped you are, you gotta feel a little funny up there.
You kind of learn that everything is confidence. Being sexy is confidence. Regardless, all the good stuff, watching the first one, the thing that really sells that is Channing’s this ripped, good looking, charming guy and he does silly stuff once in awhile and he owns it. And I think that’s what makes women like that.  

And you just wrapped work on The Martian directed by Ridley Scott and co-starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara and so many other great actors.
It was a pretty crazy experience working with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kristen Wiig. It was a crazy cast to work with and also being in Hungary, it felt like camp. We had big monologues about NASA. It felt like real acting, like a play. And Ridley was very hands on. I think as you get older you don’t want to use as much energy. He knows what he likes. 

So Matt Damon gets left behind on a mission to Mars and…?
The themes are loneliness, really how hard it is to survive. The interesting part of it is don’t panic. Just find a way to survive. Don’t freak out.

Before you go, I know you’re pretty tight with Tracy Morgan. How’s he doing? 
He’s a really good guy. He taught me a lot and we worked together multiple times outside of 30 Rock. It’s kind of sad that something like that happened. He’s kind of keeping to himself. It’s such a personal matter.