AtlantaThe season three finale of Met Van, played by Zazie Beetz, under the incredibly French spotlight. Once Lottie’s responsible mother and ex-girlfriend of Donald Glover‘s Earn, Van is almost completely unrecognizable in the Parisian episode: she speaks with an accent, wears a striped shirt, carries a wand and sports a very distinct Gallic haircut. “I love Amelie,says Beetz vanity lounge on Zoom. “It was fun to touch that vibe. And I always love a wig.
The episode leaves Earn, Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), and Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) behind and follows Van and his new life in Paris. Along the way, she has a psychosexual banter with Alexander Skarsgard, wields a baguette as a weapon and serves as the sous chef for an absolutely shocking meal. Filming in Paris was emotional for Beetz, who recently got engaged to the actor David Rysdahl the. “Just seeing the skyline could make me cry,” says Beetz. “I felt like, in some ways, I was literally Van like, Wow. My alternative life would have been to live here.
Beetz chats with VF on Van’s big episode, his urge to run away and the Avett Brothers song that continues to strike a chord.
Vanity Lounge: What was it like coming back to the show after a few years away?
Zazie Beetz: I think we were all a little nervous about how we would feel about our characters and if we felt like we were still connected. But we really feel like a family. We got together and the energy immediately picked up. It was really charming and fun. I remember the first day back on set, we were almost misbehaving, we were just talking too much. Excited, almost childlike energy.
So it was really nice and sacred to come back to the show. We had all grown up a bit, experienced different things; have children or suffer losses. And so I think it was interesting to think about who we are now and how that shapes our characters. [It was] a bit like a family reunion in a way
And to do it in Europe too, which is such a different landscape.
I think we bonded a lot during that time because it was during COVID. We came to London a week before the end of their confinement. And in every other city we’ve been to, we got there the day their lockdown ended. In some ways, the world was a little weird. Also, we couldn’t really bring our spouses or family over due to COVID. Usually you can have visitors. But we were much more isolated. And so we really had each other. And so I think we really had the opportunity to fit in and bond with each other.
What was your first reaction when you read the script for the final season?
Initially, in fact, it was not supposed to be the last episode of the season. As the editing progressed, they reworked the order of certain episodes. Because they felt in some ways that the ending of the episode was a bit about coming home, they felt that this should be the one that ended it.
I thought I would be more intimidated than I was because I have this emotional connection to Paris, and France in general. I lived in Paris for a year. I don’t speak fluently anymore, but I used to speak perfectly. I just thought, Ah, it’s mine. And then at the end… when I was filming, there was a moment that became really important and emotional in a way that you didn’t expect. And that was, for me, honestly, I think, one of my deepest moments as an actor. I don’t know what ended up happening in the episode, but [the] the experience was really incredibly cathartic and also validated me: Oh, I can take myself to places if I put my mind to it.
How did Van end up in Paris? What was she looking for during the season?
I think Van was really looking for an identity. Throughout the season, she tried different people because she wasn’t really happy with herself. What is this partnership with her and Earn? Or who is Van apart from that?
I think [she wants to] not being responsible all the time – which is really interesting because I find that even on Instagram comments or something like that, people are very angry that Van isn’t with his daughter. And I’m like, Oh, that’s interesting, I don’t see that as much with Earn. And you’re like, Oh wow. These expectations are real. Even though it was clarified that she’s with my parents and blah, blah, blah, it’s interesting that people say, “You have to go home. What are you doing?” And I think Van is trapped by that, and was usually the one to be punished and be the supplier. Even that identity changes because Earn is, in some ways, a supplier now. And so who is -she ?