HollywoodReporter gathered some highly sought after creative talents for a round table discussion moderated by director/actor Jon Favreau. Donald Glover (33), Lin-Manuel Miranda (36), Issa Rae (31) and Damien Chazelle (31) all joined in a lengthy chat about the art of acting, improv, their successful years and more.

With the group sharing a common bond and respect for each other, the discussion was an honest look into the minds of young Hollywood.

Continue below…

JON FAVREAU: We’ve got Issa, Damien, Lin-Manuel and Donald, aka Childish Gambino. Is that your name for this venue?

DONALD GLOVER: We can talk about it, sure. It’s not a secret.

FAVREAU: No, I know it’s not a secret. And you got the name from the Wu-Tang website?

GLOVER: The name generator, yeah.


GLOVER: You didn’t hear that story? Lots of people do it.

FAVREAU: But you came out with a good one.

GLOVER: Yeah, mine was the coolest one at the party.

FAVREAU: Mine was Hungry Clemenza. I didn’t go with it.

GLOVER: Really?

FAVREAU: No. By the way, full disclosure: I see your face every day when I wake up my 15-year-old son because on his door is a portrait of you.


GLOVER: It’s probably the Because the Internet cover, which is of my face.

It’s just you looking very handsome, staring at me as I’m waking my son up. He knows you through your music. I came up in the improv community, so I know you more through that. And we’re both a little bit nerdy and into comics and stuff.

GLOVER: I don’t think of you as nerdy at all.
FAVREAU: That’s a common theme here, that we’re all a little bit nerdy or geeky.

GLOVER: Nerdy is just liking stuff that takes work to like.

FAVREAU: To me, nerdy is a sense of your identity, of something you’re going to put out there. You’re fair game. That’s a common thread, from what I know about all your stories and the work that I’ve seen. That’s part of the bravery that comes with doing improv. If you’re trying to look cool doing that type of comedy —

MIRANDA: Then you’re dead.

FAVREAU: You’re dead.

DAMIEN CHAZELLE: There’s nothing I’m more in awe of than improv. I’ve found ways to remove myself from being too exposed as an artist. I used to play drums, but the performance stuff just gave me too much stage fright. Even when I was hidden behind a kit, I couldn’t deal with that. So then I’d hide behind the camera, the computer, the typewriter, whatever.


CHAZELLE: On the next level are performers who literally are performing without a net, like improv.

FAVREAU: And jazz, which is a through line in both of [Chazelle’s] films.

GLOVER: It’s a muscle that people don’t have to use as much. Editing is a skill people use a lot, even in everyday life.


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