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pocalyptic Thriller Gets the Obama Seal of Approval
The highly anticipated apocalyptic thriller, Leave the World Behind, directed by the mastermind behind Mr. Robot and starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Kevin Bacon, and Ethan Hawke, has received praise from an unexpected source – Barack Obama. The former president offered his thoughts on early drafts of the script and left the director suitably "scared," according to Sam Esmail.
Obama's Connection to the Project
As if Obama's involvement couldn't get any more intriguing, it turns out the film is partly produced by Higher Ground, the company founded by the Obamas that has a development deal with Netflix. Obama has also publicly declared himself a fan of the novel on which the movie is based.
Image via Netflix
Esmail's Daunting Experience
Esmail admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair that receiving notes and revisions from a former president was an intimidating experience. Obama helped ground him in reality and provided insights into the characters and the empathy the audience would have for them. Esmail was not only surprised by Obama's attention to detail but also by his genuine love for the book and desire to see a great film.
"In the original drafts of the script, I definitely pushed things a lot farther than they were in the film, and President Obama, having the experience he does have, was able to ground me a little bit on how things might unfold in reality. I am writing what I think is fiction, for the most part, I’m trying to keep it as true to life as possible, but I’m exaggerating and dramatizing.
And to hear an ex-president say you’re off by a few details…I thought I was off by a lot! The fact that he said that scared the f*ck out of me. He had a lot notes about the characters and the empathy we would have for them. I have to say he is a big movie lover, and he wasn’t just giving notes about things that were from his background. He was giving notes as a fan of the book, and he wanted to see a really good film."
Plot and Release Date
Leave the World Behind follows a family vacationing on Long Island who are interrupted by a pair of strangers with news of a mysterious blackout. The film is set to release on December 8, and audiences will have to wait to see if Obama's suggestions helped make it a truly gripping cinematic experience.