Netflix’s Leave The World Behind: what’s it about, who is in it and how are the Obamas involved?

Barrack and Michelle Obama’s involvement in Netflix’s ‘Leave The World Behind’ is as formidable as the cast itself
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Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Bacon and Mahershala Ali; that is already a formidable cast for Netflix’s ‘Leave The World Behind,’ due out on the streaming platform at the end of the year. Yet, there are two other contributors who are equally as famous as the cast involved in its production - former POTUS Barrack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Based on the National Book Award-nominated novel by Rumaan Alam, ‘Leave the World Behind’ is helmed by ‘Mr. Robot’ director Sam Esmail who, if ‘Mr. Robot’ is anything to go by, already has a knack for creating slow-burning thrillers. Alam’s book is set during an apocalyptic blackout event and follows the lives of two families living through a mysterious cyberattack - sound a little similar to Rami Malek’s critically acclaimed television series? 

The adaptation was a hotly contested script when it was first announced, with Deadline reporting in 2020 that Apple, Amazon and Netflix were the final three companies involved in the bidding war for its rights. Ultimately, it was Netflix who won out - until the pandemic occurred, leading to delays in production.

While Denzel Washington was originally earmarked to star, Mahershala Ali was then drafted in to take over his role when he dropped out in 2021. Luckily, however, that would be the only big name to drop out from the film - and looking at the cast list, there’s plenty more talent to fill whatever void people may have felt Washington would have left.

We would have liked, of course, to have seen Washington and Hawke on our screen again though, after the chemistry demonstrated in Washington’s Oscar-winning role in Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Training Day.

So what is the film all about, and how are Barrack and Michelle Obama involved in ‘Leave The World Behind?’ 

What is ‘Leave The World Behind’ about?

“Amanda (Academy Award winner Roberts) and her husband Clay (Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke), rent a luxurious home for the weekend with their kids, Archie (Charlie Evans) and Rose (Farrah Mackenzie). Their vacation is soon upended when two strangers — G.H. (Academy Award winner Ali) and his daughter Ruth (Myha’la) — arrive in the night, bearing news of a mysterious cyberattack and seeking refuge in the house they claim is theirs.” 

“The two families reckon with a looming disaster that grows more terrifying by the minute, forcing everyone to come to terms with their places in a collapsing world.”

Who stars in ‘Leave The World Behind’?

Quite an impressive cast is involved in ‘Leave The World Behind,’ with Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke and Mahershala Ali.

  • Julia Roberts as Amanda
  • Mahershala Ali as G.H.
  • Ethan Hawke as Clay
  • Myha'la as Ruth
  • Farrah Mackenzie as Rose
  • Charlie Evans as Archie
  • Kevin Bacon as Danny

How are Barrack and Michelle Obama involved in ‘Leave The World Behind’?

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle close the Obama Foundation Summit together on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle close the Obama Foundation Summit together on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle close the Obama Foundation Summit together on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Barrack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground Productions, are involved in producing the film, with its release marking the fourth film from their enterprise. 

Previously, their company’s production credits include ‘Fatherhood,’ ‘Worth’ and ‘Rustin,’ with the pair also receiving an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program for ‘American Factory,’ their first production credits.

When does ‘Leave The World Behind’ arrive on Netflix?

‘Leave The World Behind’ arrives on Netflix on December 8 2023.

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