Even a movie with three Oscar nominees can’t escape studio notes — especially if the notes come from Barack Obama.
Leave the World Behind, which stars Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke, is the first fictional film from Higher Ground, the production company founded by Barack and Michelle Obama. It’s described as a psychological thriller about two families reckoning with “a looming disaster that grows more terrifying by the minute, forcing everyone to come to terms with their places in a collapsing world.” So, just another day for a former president.
“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,” writer and director Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) 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! The fact that he said that scared the f*ck out of me.”
Obama was concerned that Leave the World Behind was too bleak, and his notes were mostly “about the characters and the empathy we would have for them,” Esmail continued. “I have to say he is a big movie lover, and he wasn’t just giving notes about things that were from his background.”
If a character in the movie gets a weird amount of sh*t for wearing a tan suit, you’ll know where that idea came from.
Leave the World Behind hits Netflix on December 8th.
(Via Vanity Fair)