Though our beloved president Barack Obama is only 55-years-old, because he’s accomplished so much, he already has films being made about his life. This week, Netflix released the new trailer for Barry, a biographical film about Obama’s days as a student at Columbia University in the early 1980s.
Time magazine reports that Australian actor Devon Terrell will play the 44th President as a 20-year-old undergraduate, grappling with his identity as a mixed-race kid from Honolulu and Indonesia. His mother is from Kansas, his father is from Kenya. Indeed, he’s “a whole different type of brother,” as one of his Black friends says in the film.
Terrell, who is also bi-racial, spoke with GQ in September about how he prepped for the role, including spending months learning to write with his left hand, and also working with a speech coach to get Obama’s cadence and intonations just so.
Terrell says as a young man trying to find himself and where he fit in, Obama didn’t have as much of the cool we associate with him now. “It was about finding the awkwardness. The man we see now has a swagger about him, walks around with his chest up high,” Terrell said. “At 21, when he’s trying to find himself, he’s not as assured.”
The film depicts Obama’s relationship with his mother, Ann Dunham, played by Ashley Judd, as well as with his white girlfriend at Columbia, Charlotte (played by Anya Taylor-Joy). In the film, Obama navigates 1980s New York City with all the energy, danger and promise that it had at that time.
Barry was directed by Vikram Gandhi and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year. It will begin streaming on Netflix on Dec. 16.