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The Stars of Atlanta Discuss Their Intense European Vacation

Photo: Coco Olakunle/FX/Copyright 2022, FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.

Atlanta Robbin’ Season may have been partially inspired by Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, but its trippy misadventures abroad parallel another classic travelogue: National Lampoon’s European Vacation. Season three finds Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) on his European tour with manager Earn (Donald Glover) and one-man entourage Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) in tow. Each member of the crew is pursuing their own individual quest, meeting strangers, and running around cities. In reality, almost all of the season was shot abroad during the height of lockdown. “It was a very special time because everybody was in lockdown,” Donald Glover told Vulture at the show’s red-carpet premiere. “It felt very strange, to know that we were doing something that most people might not get to do ever again. We’re in Paris alone — no Americans, just Paris was left.”

In episode two, Van (Zazie Beetz) joins the crew after experiencing some personal free fall and panic attacks. Beetz, who was born in Berlin, described her return to Europe during this time as a “wonderful, cool, refreshing experience.” Amsterdam was a favorite for Beetz. “I had never been to Amsterdam before,” she said. “And to be myself discovering the city and as Van discovering the city was a nice parallel.” Van’s serendipitous experience of Amsterdam (going to an address she finds in a jacket and letting it get weirder from there) mirrors Beetz’s preferred travel style. “I let it happen. I just like to get lost. I’ll walk for hours,” she said. “I don’t plan. I just like to have the country appear before my eyes.”

As a writer and executive producer on the series, Stephen Glover came along for Atlanta’s European vacation. For nonworking vacations, Stephen is extremely laissez-faire: “I’m definitely not a planner. I’m definitely a ‘take in the culture, hang out with a local, and get the local flavor’ sort of guy,” he said. “I want to taste the food. I want to hang out and experience it as not a tourist.” Both Glovers got a chance to experience Europe as non-tourists while filming. “We had a crazy day in Amsterdam. No tours. We just walked around smoking, chilling,” Donald said. “It was the best day ever, and I think I should have taken stock of those days more.”

The Stars of Atlanta Discuss Their Intense European Vacation