Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, former President and First Lady of the United States, respectively, are set to produce Sam Esmail’s upcoming drama film Leave the World Behind.
Esmail, who created the critically acclaimed thriller series Mr. Robot, has written the script and will be directing the film, which is based on Rumaan Alam’s National Book Award-nominated fiction title of the same name — a book which Barack Obama included on his 2021 summer reading list.
Boasting a cast consisting of Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, and Myha’la Herrold, the plot centers on a family who retreat to their summer cottage, which they’re currently renting to another family. Suddenly, an unexpected blackout darkens the city and tensions mount between the two families as finding a plausible explanation for the blackout becomes less and less likely.
The Obamas will produce the film via their production company, Higher Ground Productions — a media company founded by the couple in 2018 that aims to bring visibility to diverse voices in storytelling. They exclusively release film and television content to Netflix, while their podcast content, such as The Michelle Obama Podcast, is exclusive to Spotify.
Previous films by the company include the Kevin Hart-led Fatherhood, and Worth, starring Michael Keaton. Their 2019 documentary American Factory won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, while Crip Camp and Becoming was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, respectively.
Filming for Leave the World Behind began earlier this month on Long Island.