Mahershala Ali stars in cyberattack thriller ‘Leave the World Behind’

Mahershala Ali’s next memorable flick is here: The two-time Academy Award winner stars in “Leave the World Behind,” an upcoming psychological thriller hitting screens large and small.

Based on Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel of the same name, the film comes from former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama‘s Higher Ground Productions. The adaptation is written and directed by Sam Esmail, with Ali joined in the cast by fellow Oscar winner Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Bacon and Myha’la.

Myha’la as Ruth (left) and Mahershala Ali (right) as G.H. in a scene from “Leave the World Behind.”
(Photo: Netflix)

Described as an apocalyptic thriller, the film centers on married couple Amanda (Roberts) and Clay (Hawke), who rent a luxury home for a weekend with their two children. Things take a major shift when two strangers, G.H. (Ali), and his daughter, Ruth (Myha’la), arrive in the middle of the night seeking safety amid a mysterious cyber attack.

“The two families reckon with a looming disaster that grows more terrifying by the minute,” the synopsis describes, “forcing everyone to come to terms with their places in a collapsing world.”

“Leave the World Behind” will hit select movie theaters on Nov. 22 and debut on Netflix on Dec. 8.

Ali, of course, is one of Hollywood’s biggest names, having won two best supporting actor Oscars for his exemplary work in “Moonlight” and “Green Book” in 2016 and 2018, respectively. “Leave the World Behind” marks a cinematic return for the actor, whose last project was 2021’s “Swan Song.”

Viewers may have caught Myha’la in other projects as well. The young actress stars in the HBO series “Industry,” and has appeared in films such as “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” and “Dumb Money.”

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, director Esmail opened up about direct script notes he received from Barack Obama.

“In the original drafts of the script, I definitely pushed things a lot farther than they were in the film,” he admitted, “and President Obama, having the experience he does have, was able to ground me a little bit on how things might unfold in reality.”

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