The original movie follows a married couple who do not know the other is secretly a spy. At least, not until they end up being tasked with killing the same target—and then each other.
Now, that same concept has been revamped in a show starring Donald Glover and Maya Erskine. But, while it is based on the same ideas as the movie, there are plenty of differences as well.
How Does Mr. & Mrs. Smith Differ From the 2005 Film?
In an exclusive interview with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, Mr. & Mrs. Smith showrunner and co-creator Francesca Sloane revealed the one similarity the new show has to the original 2005 film starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Sloane noted when it came to how similar they wanted the project to be to the film, they "wanted them to be two spies who are married" and "that's it."
As for Donald Glover and Maya Erskine, and when it comes to what they added to their takes on John and Jane Smith, Sloane pointed to "their incredible awkwardness" as her favorite trait of the leading duo:
"I think their incredible awkwardness. I think their vulnerability and their humanity. Like they're sort of the underbelly of what you would ever expect a spy to be like. And yeah, their realness. They're sort of like the opposite of debonair, and they can go into that, and we see them sort of turn that on when they need to. But yeah, they're sort of like the anti-Bond in that way. They're clumsy, and I love that about them."
On the subject of the most unique part of her experience on the series, Sloane explained how Mr. & Mrs. Smith was her "first time being a showrunner," an experience made even more unique by the fact that she had her "only son at the same exact time" as making the show:
"This is my first time being a showrunner. It was also--I had a two-month-old, my first and only son, at the exact same time as I was making this show. So, I don't know if I can point to anything that wasn't unique. Sort of managing all of these things, wearing all of these different hats, you know, trying to keep my sanity, still having a good time."
"But it was a blast," the filmmaker clarified, making it clear how she would "do it all over again exactly as it went down:"
"But it was a blast. I would do it all over again exactly as it went down, even with all of the chaos. And I got to work with my best friends. So yeah, it was one of the best experiences of my life."
The Direct then asked which episode was the hardest to pull together, to which the co-creator admitted that "it’s hard to pick one" but getting the overall "tone of the show" right was tricky:
“It's hard to pick one. I think, altogether, the tone of the show is kind of a unique one. And I think that the show sort of kept telling us what it wanted to be when we were sort of doing the more sort of straightforward spy stuff, it was so easy to do because you're sort of basing it on things that you've already experienced before.”
Continuing, she explained how it was challenging to "[figure] out how to fuse" these "naturalistic characters" who are "still so engaging in comedy:"
"But this idea of sort of blending it with our sensibilities in the way that we're kind of telling these naturalistic characters that are still so engaging in comedy, you know, figuring out how to fuse those things together and make it feel consistent and make it feel like it makes sense. We had to kind of sit back sometimes and, reevaluate ourselves and jump back in. So I would say all eight, but I'm very, very happy with where we arrived. Yeah."
The whole interview can be viewed below:
How New Mr. & Mrs. Smith TV Series Stands Alone
Even with the one similarity between the Mr. & Mrs. Smith projects, the differences start almost immediately after that.
The most pressing of which is how Donald Glover and Maya Erskine’s John and Jane already know they’re both spies in the streaming show. For Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s original movie, neither knew the other was a spy.
They both also work for the same organization, compared to the competing agencies, as seen in the 2005 film.
The big question is, will this new John and Jane end up as happy and thriving as Jolie and Pitt’s characters do?
It does seem like pitting one against the other at some point is an obvious narrative direction to go into. The trailer for the show features some uncertainty and bickering between the two 'lovers.'
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is now streaming on Prime Video.