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Mr & Mrs Smith’s Original Jane Actress Nearly Fulfilled 6-Year-Old Reunion For $393M Star Wars Flop

February 8, 2024 - Movies

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Summary

  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge was originally set to co-write and play Jane in the Mr & Mrs Smith TV series, but she left the project due to creative differences with Donald Glover.
  • If Waller-Bridge had stayed, Mr & Mrs Smith would’ve doubled as a reunion for the 2018 box office flop, Solo: A Star Wars Story, which she starred in with Glover
  • After Maya Erskine was recast as Jane, changes were made to the character to fit her acting style and strengths.


The Mr & Mrs Smith reboot series would’ve served as a mini-reunion for a 2018 Star Wars box office bomb if the original actress who was supposed to play Jane had never left. Created by Donald Glover and Francesca Sloane, Mr & Mrs Smith is a spy comedy-drama TV show based on the 2005 movie of the same name starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as married assassins assigned to kill each other. In the Amazon Prime series, “John” (Glover) and “Jane” (Maya Erskine) are strangers hired by a spy agency to carry out a dangerous mission while posing as a married couple.

Mr & Mrs Smith has been met with rave reviews, with many critics praising the brilliant writing and directing, as well as Glover and Erskine’s undeniable onscreen chemistry. However, this particular John and Jane pairing wasn’t the series’ original plan. As co-creator, Glover was always attached to play John, but Erskine was not initially supposed to play Jane in Mr & Mrs Smith. Before Erskine joined the cast of Mr & Mrs Smith, a different actress was set to play Jane opposite Glover.

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge Was Originally Supposed To Play Jane In Amazon’s Mr & Mrs Smith

She left the project due to creative differences

Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Helena Shaw peering from behind door in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

In February 2021, it was announced that Glover had teamed up with Fleabag creator and star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, to reboot the 2005 film Mr & Mrs Smith as a TV show for Amazon Prime, with Sloane attached as showrunner and co-creator. Glover and Waller-Bridge were set to co-write the series as well as play the titular John and Jane Smith. However, later that year, it was revealed that Waller-Bridge had left the Mr & Mrs Smith show over “creative differences with Glover. In 2022, Erskine was officially cast as the replacement for Jane.

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Donald Glover Was Lando Calrissian & Phoebe Waller-Bridge Voiced L3-37 In Solo: A Star Wars Story

Their characters were co-pilots in the Star Wars movie

Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and L3-37 aboard the Millennium Falcon in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Had Waller-Bridge stayed on to play Jane in the reboot series, Mr & Mrs Smith would’ve served as a mini Star Wars reunion, as both she and Glover starred in the 2018 Han Solo prequel spinoff, Solo: A Star Wars Story. Glover played a younger version of Lando Calrissian when the iconic character (originally played by Billy Dee Williams) and Han Solo first became friends. As for Waller-Bridge, she provided the voice for the piloting droid, L3-37, who served as Lando’s navigator and the first mate on the Millennium Falcon.

Unfortunately, Solo: A Star Wars Story bombed at the box office, grossing only $393.2 million worldwide on a budget of $275 million. Though it was considered the first Star Wars box office flop, the silver lining of Solo is that it introduced Glover and Waller-Bridge to each other. Though the actors technically never appeared onscreen together, their characters in Solo were close companions and made a great pair. Mr & Mrs Smith was a chance for Glover and Waller-Bridge to properly work together again and actually share the screen until she dropped out of the series.

How Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Jane Casting Would Have Changed Amazon’s Mr & Mrs Smith Remake

She and Glover had very different visions for the series


Now that Mr & Mrs Smith has been released, it’s hard to imagine Waller-Bridge as a co-writer on the series or in the lead role of Jane. The writer, actress, and comedian is immensely talented and has proven she has range by starring in a variety of projects across genres, including her most recent film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. However, Waller-Bridge’s comedy style in the series Fleabag and Crashing, both of which she created and starred in, is much more self-deprecating and sarcastic than the tone of Mr & Mrs Smith.

Given that she left due to “creative differences” with Glover, it’s possible that Waller-Bridge’s comedic sensibilities simply clashed with his, which contributed to her exit. Though he didn’t go into detail, Glover felt that Waller-Bridge’s vision for Mr & Mrs Smith was “definitely not my style (via The Hollywood Reporter). He also admitted that he didn’t think they ever “felt comfortable enough with each other” to be brutally honest about each other’s ideas in order to successfully write the show together.


Glover also noted that once Waller-Bridge left and Erskine was cast as Jane in Mr & Mrs Smith, the character was changed a lot to fit her acting style and play to her strengths. Though Glover would have had to find some middle ground if Waller-Bridge had stayed, Mr & Mrs Smith would not have turned out the same given their opposing styles and approaches. As such, the character of Jane would have been written differently to some extent, and Waller-Bridge’s performance as Jane would likely not have resembled Erskine’s in the Glover-led final product of Mr & Mrs Smith.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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