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‘Leave the World Behind’ filmmaker Sam Esmail dishes on his apocalyptic thriller

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What would happen if suddenly all communication devices go down, and you have no idea why or what’s going on in the world? That’s where things start with the new Netflix thriller Leave The World Behind, written and directed by Sam Esmail, based on the popular 2020 book of the same name.

Esmail tells ABC Audio that when he read the book during the pandemic, he immediately wanted to explore “This idea that in a moment of crisis, you can easily lose sight of our common humanity.”

“I mean, obviously that was really relevant back then, but it’s equally relevant today given what’s going on in the world right now,” he continues.

The film is produced by Barack and Michelle Obama‘s company Higher Ground Productions, and Esmail says the former president and first lady were very involved.

“He would read scripts and give notes, everything from the characters to the to the disaster elements to the themes. Same thing with the cuts,” he shares. “You know, they give they give lots of feedback. And, you know, he has a lot of insight and it was pretty invaluable to the film and to the script.”

In one scene, which you seen in the trailer, a bunch of self-driving Teslas go haywire and start crashing into each other. Esmail recalls they crashed “quite a few” cars that day.

“I’m not going to pretend that we didn’t extend it with some CGI, but I got to say there were a lot of real Teslas out there that we destroyed,” he adds. “It was a fun day on set that day, yeah.”  

Leave The World Behind, stars Julia RobertsMahershala AliEthan HawkeMyha’la and Kevin Bacon.

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