Barack Obama gave production notes on Leave The World Behind, the upcoming Netflix movie starring Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Rumaan Alam. It follows a couple vacationing on Long Island just before the apocalypse occurs following an extended blackout. It is produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground.
“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,” the movie’s screenwriter and director, Sam Esmail 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— out of me,” Esmail continued.
According to Esmail, Barack Obama said that, initially, some of the plot points of Leave The World Behind were too pessimistic for the production company’s vision. He wanted there to be more empathy.
“He had a lot [of] notes about the characters and the empathy we would have for them,” Esmail added. “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.”
Leave The World Behind arrives in theatres on November 22nd and is released on Netflix on December 8th.