How The Former President Influenced Netflix’s New Movie


  • Barack Obama’s contributions helped bring the apocalyptic tension and realism to life in the thrilling film adaptation of Leave the World Behind.
  • The way the characters interact with the complex scene and explore deeper themes, thanks to the Obama family’s involvement.
  • Barack Obama utilized his presidential experience to fine-tune the technological disaster aspects of the film, contributing to its thrilling and realistic balance.

Leave the World Behind is a thrilling piece of work that strikes the right balance of apocalyptic tension and realism, and part of the reason why it was able to accomplish this was because of Barack Obama’s contributions. The psychological thriller is based on Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel of the same name, which achieved critical acclaim. It follows the story of two families whose lives become intertwined after a blackout becomes a major crisis. The film adaptation of Leave the World Behind boasts an incredible and star-studded cast who strongly contributes to the way the twists and turns of the book expertly come to life on screen.

In addition to the stellar cast, part of what has led to Leave the World Behind‘s positive reviews is the way in which the characters interact with the complex scene put in front of them. The apocalyptic nature of the movie serves as the background for the film to explore things like race relations and class tensions. The Obama family was able to help bring this to life, thanks to their large contributions to the project.

Barack & Michelle Obama Produced Netflix’s Leave The World Behind & Helped With The Script

Both the former president and First Lady of the United States, Barack and Michelle Obama, played major roles in Netflix’s Leave the World Behind. In 2022, the production company, Higher Ground, founded by the pair, signed on to the thrilling project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barack Obama was especially invested in the film, providing valuable and detailed notes on the script. Leave the World Behind‘s director, Sam Esmail, revealed that he would ask the former president for advice when penning the original drafts, as it helped him root the story in reality.


Leave The World Behind Interview: Filmmaker Sam Esmail & Author Rumaan Alam On Cultivating Dread

Director and writer Sam Esmail and author Rumaan Alam discuss bringing the iconic dread of Leave the World Behind to life in the new thriller.

Although the piece of work is fiction, Esmail’s goal was to keep it as lifelike as possible, and Barack Obama helped him achieve that. He provided notes on the characters and the empathy the film should possess when portraying them, as well as when certain plot points were too bare or unlikely. Esmail explained that the former president is a huge movie lover and fan of the book, so his observations weren’t just based on his background but also his love for the project.

Barack Obama’s Presidential Experience Partially Influenced Leave The World Behind’s Technological Disaster Approach

Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, Julia Roberts and Myha'la Herrold in Leave the World Behind

One aspect of Leave the World Behind that Barack Obama was heavily able to influence was its technological disaster. USA Today reports that Obama utilized his White House experience to fine-tune some of the technological disaster parts of the movie. He let Esmail know that some of the more dystopian implications that the movie included were not realistic. Having someone so well-versed in this type of planning made all the difference to the film, which ended up being a strong balance of being thrilling, suspenseful, and realistic.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today

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By asm3a