The Big Picture
- Julia Roberts and her family face a mysterious apocalypse in Leave the World Behind as they are confronted by two strangers with warnings about blackouts.
- The film tackles not only the end of the world but also prejudice, as the families are forced together despite their reservations about each other.
- Writer/director Sam Esmail assembles a dream cast, including Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, and Kevin Bacon, to bring this intense thriller to life.
The end is nigh for Julia Roberts and her family in the first trailer for writer/director Sam Esmail‘s new psychological thriller Leave the World Behind. An adaptation of Rumaan Alam‘s 2020 novel of the same name, it follows a family on vacation in Long Island when they are suddenly confronted by two strangers informing them of a mysterious blackout. The situation quickly worsens as the world begins to crumble, leaving the two families to try and survive together.
Everything kicks off when Amanda (Roberts) and her husband Clay (Ethan Hawke) open their doors to see G. H. (Mahershala Ali) and his wife Ruth (Myha’la Herrold). G. H. is the wealthy owner of the Airbnb where Amanda and her family are staying, and he came bearing a warning for them about the blackouts. He claims that there’s something more to the outages as he could tell through changes in the “patterns of the world.” Despite their apparent distrust, G. H. is soon proven right when the television flashes on with reports of a massive cyberattack on the U.S. Yet, he says that “the truth is much scarier” than even that, and the families soon find themselves in a full-blown apocalypse with mysterious happenings left and right.
Leave the World Behind tackles not just the apocalypse but prejudice as the two very different families are forced together despite the reservations Amanda and Clay have about G. H. and Ruth. Amid all that, however, are some horrifying sights as the world falls apart in this slow-burn thriller including what appears to be a rain of blood from a singular spot in the sky and the complete disruption of nature on Earth. For as many questions as to what’s going on, Kevin Bacon‘s doomsday prepper contractor David sees the writing on the wall – “We’ve all been deserted.”
Esmail Brings Together a Dream Cast for ‘Leave the World Behind’
Esmail has risen as an A-list writer after creating the critical darling Mr. Robot which picked up three Emmy wins throughout its run along with an armload of nominations. His new apocalyptic thriller will allow him to explore the end of the world and all the bizarre moments it brings while shining the spotlight on the characters, the tensions between them, and how they react when all the electricity is shut off and they have to rely on each other. It helps that Esmail has a fantastic cast including Roberts whom he’s familiar with from his previous series Homecoming.
Roberts, Hawke, Ali, Herrold, and Bacon are joined by Farrah Mackenzie and Charlie Evans in Leave the World Behind. Esmail and Roberts also produced the film with Chad Hamilton, Lisa Gillan, and Marisa Yeres Gill while Barack and Michelle Obama, Tonia Davis, Daniel M. Stillman, Nick Krishnamurthy, and the book’s author Alam serve as executive producers. Before the thriller arrives in select theaters on November 22 and on Netflix on December 8, it will open AFI Fest on October 25 for its world premiere.
Check out the trailer for Leave the World Behind below.