Exploring human behavior in the face of an apocalyptic crisis is at the heart of Sam Esmail’s latest project, “Leave The World Behind.” This gripping tale is an adaptation of Rumaan Alam’s highly praised literary thriller of the same name. Academy Award winner Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke step into the roles of Amanda and Clay, a middle-class New York couple who, along with their two teenagers, opt for a luxurious Airbnb rental in Long Island. This rental is described online as the perfect place to ‘leave the world behind.’
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What was supposed to be an idyllic family vacation takes an unexpected turn when the real owner of the home, G.H. Washington, portrayed by the talented Mahershala Ali, along with his daughter Ruth, played by Myha’la Herrold, arrive at their doorstep. They’re seeking refuge with the bewildered renters due to an ominous blackout that has plunged the East Coast into darkness, cutting off internet and mobile phone access. As an apocalyptic scenario unfolds, everyone is left grappling with this new reality.
However, beneath the surface, this intrusion exposes something far more unsettling than the impending end of the world. In the book, Amanda initially struggles to believe that G.H. and Ruth could be the rightful owners of this luxurious property, largely because of their race. She questions whether they might be artists or have some other reason to be there. But in the midst of an impending catastrophe, this is no time for racial bias, and their shattered vacation dreams quickly take a backseat. With their children to protect, the characters portrayed by this exceptional cast each find their own ways of coping with these new and challenging realities as they leave behind their old lives.
When and Where Can You Watch ‘Leave the World Behind’?
Mark your calendars for the highly anticipated release of ‘Leave The World Behind.’ The film is set to make its debut with a limited theatrical release on November 22, 2023. This strategic move is aimed at qualifying for consideration at this year’s Academy Awards, adding to the excitement surrounding its release. Following this limited theatrical run, the film will reach a broader audience as it becomes available on Netflix starting from December 8.
Netflix has a knack for granting select prestigious films a limited theatrical release, and this year is no exception. Notable films like Chloe Domont’s ‘Fair Play,’ David Fincher’s ‘The Killer,’ and Bradley Cooper’s ‘Maestro’ have all enjoyed or are set to experience this unique big-screen treatment.
If you’re eager to be among the first to witness this cinematic gem, you won’t have to wait long. ‘Leave The World Behind’ is scheduled to have its world premiere on October 25, kicking off the 2023 AFI Fest with its opening night screening.
Is There a Trailer for ‘Leave the World Behind’?
Netflix treated eager audiences to a tantalizing teaser trailer for ‘Leave the World Behind’ on October 2, 2023. Clocking in at 100 seconds, this preview offers a glimpse into the riveting tension that unfolds between Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali’s characters, set against the backdrop of an apocalyptic world in turmoil.
In case you missed it, a sizzle reel was unveiled back in January, offering a sneak peek at some of Netflix’s most anticipated films of 2023. Among these cinematic gems, ‘Leave the World Behind’ stands out as a promising highlight, leaving fans eagerly awaiting its arrival.
Who Is in the Cast of ‘Leave the World Behind’?
In Rumaan Alam’s thought-provoking novel ‘Leave The World Behind,’ there’s an unflattering aspect to Amanda, the central character. It’s this very complexity that likely drew the attention of Academy Award-winning actress Julia Roberts, who eagerly embraced the role of a modern, liberal woman confronted with her own biases and vulnerabilities during a time of crisis.
Roberts collaborates with director Sam Esmail to bring Alam’s book to life, her passion for the material even sparking interest in former co-star and fellow Oscar luminary Denzel Washington for the role of G.H. Unfortunately, this casting coup didn’t come to fruition. It’s been three decades since these A-listers shared the screen in ‘The Pelican Brief,’ and the prospect of their reunion generated fierce competition for the adaptation of Alam’s already popular and best-selling novel.
Two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali steps into the shoes of George G.H. Washington, the affluent black owner of the Long Island Airbnb, who disrupts the idyllic vacation of renters Amanda and Clay with news of a massive blackout. Despite his worldly knowledge, G.H. finds himself as helpless as any of us when faced with a sudden loss of electricity and internet.
Ethan Hawke, known for his diverse and surprising roles, portrays Clay, the husband and father whose attempts to safeguard his family may prove less than heroic.
Myha’la Herrold takes on the role of Ruth Washington, G.H.’s daughter. In the novel, Ruth was actually G.H.’s wife, but her character was adapted for the film to suit Herrold.
The ever-dependable Kevin Bacon (‘A Few Good Men’) assumes the role of Danny, described in the book as the capable and trustworthy contractor who built the Washingtons’ dream home and has become G.H.’s confidant for everything, including surviving the apocalypse. The cast also includes Farrah Mackenzie (‘Logan Lucky’) as Rosie and Charlie Evans (‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay’) as Leonard.
What Is ‘Leave the World Behind’ About?
According to the official synopsis provided by Netflix:
A family’s vacation, led by Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke, takes a dramatic turn when two strangers portrayed by Mahershala Ali and Myha’la arrive unexpectedly during the night. They seek refuge from a rapidly escalating cyberattack that plunges everyone into a world on the brink of collapse. This unexpected intrusion forces each individual to confront their roles in this unraveling reality.
Who Is in the Crew of ‘Leave the World Behind’?
The involvement of such prominent figures in this film is bound to generate excitement among audiences as they anticipate the December release on Netflix. Notably, Sam Esmail, known for his work on ‘Mr. Robot,’ not only directs but also pens the script, while Rumaan Alam, the author of the novel, serves as an executive producer. The production team includes Sam Esmail, Julia Roberts, Chad Hamilton, Lisa Gillan, and Marisa Yeres Gill.
Netflix emerged victorious in a fierce battle for the rights to this adaptation, competing against heavyweights like Apple and MGM, as well as several other studios and streaming platforms. Interestingly, the interest in the book adaptation began even before the novel’s release, and it went on to become a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award. Notably, it also found a place on Barack Obama’s Summer Favorites list and received acclaim from esteemed publications like NPR, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The LA Times, and many others as one of the best books of 2020.
When and Where Did ‘Leave the World Behind’ Film?
The cameras started rolling for ‘Leave the World Behind’ in April 2022, primarily in the picturesque Long Island area. Additional filming was carried out in the charming locale of Katonah, New York, during the following month.