“That scared the f–k out of me”: Barack Obama Helped Julia Roberts’ Upcoming Netflix Film Director With Notes That Originally Starred Denzel Washington

"That scared the f--k out of me": Barack Obama Helped Julia Roberts' Upcoming Netflix Film Director With Notes That Originally Starred Denzel Washington
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Following his run as the President of the USA, Barack Obama ventured into film and TV show production with his wife and the former First Lady Michelle Obama. The couple signed a multi-year deal with the streaming giant Netflix to produce both scripted and unscripted content under their production company, Higher Ground Productions. The production house has already worked on a number of projects and is all set for their next movie, based on Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel, Leave the World Behind.

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

Talking about the upcoming movie during a recent interview, the director of the film, Sam Esmail, shared that the former President gave him some important notes while working on the script of the  Leave the World Behind adaptation.

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Barack Obama Gave Notes to Director Sam Esmail

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground Productions, is producing the upcoming Netflix film Leave the World Behind. Starring Julia Robers, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, Myha’la Herrold, and Kevin Bacon, the movie follows two families trying to survive a mysterious blackout.

Filmmaker Sam Esmail
Filmmaker Sam Esmail

Sam Esmail, who wrote and directed the movie, shared during a recent interview with Vanity Fair that he received some notes from the former president, Barack Obama while working on its script. The director shared that Obama helped him with the details surrounding “how things might unfold in reality” in such situations. He told Vanity Fair,

“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!”

Netflix's Leave the World Behind
Netflix’s Leave the World Behind

The director shared that although he was nervous after Obama’s feedback, it was helpful in improving the script for better. “The fact that he said that scared the f*ck out of me,” he shared during the interview. Esmail also praised Barack Obama as a movie enthusiast and hopes to deliver the best adaptation of the book.


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What is Leave the World Behind About?

Described as a psychological thriller and disaster movie, Leave the World Behind follows a family on vacation on Long Island, where they are interrupted by two strangers, who claim to be the owner of their rented cabin, with a warning of a blackout. The two families are forced to live and survive together amid sudden chaos. The Oscar-winning actor, Denzel Washington, was also in talks to produce and star alongside Julia Roberts initially in the movie.

A still from Netflix's Leave the World Behind
A still from Netflix’s Leave the World Behind

Vanity Fair has shared thrilling and mysterious snippets from the upcoming movie. Director Sam Esmail has said, “The spectacle of the disaster is secondary and off in the distance,” further explaining that the film would focus on characters.


Esmail has stated that disaster is his favorite genre and that his Netflix adaptation of Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel highly differs from most movies under the genre. The filmmaker emphasized that the upcoming disaster flick would be unpredictable for the audience as they “don’t know the culmination” and where the story goes.

Leave the World Behind will be released on Netflix on December 8, 2023.

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Source: Vanity Fair


Written by Laxmi Rajput

Articles Published: 2089

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.