Plot, Cast, Release Date, and Everything Else We Know
Feb 6, 2023
Netflix is expanding its psychological thriller library with a brand-new title in production. Leave the World Behind, based on the 2020 novel of the same name, is set to be released on the streamer later this year.
Leave the World Behind received widespread acclaim from literary critics and a nomination for the 2020 National Book Award. In addition to this title, Alam’s other novels include Rich and Pretty and That Kind of Mother.
Sam Esmail is set to direct, write, and produce the film through his Esmail Group. Additional producers include Chad Hamilton, Lisa Gillan, Marisa Yeres Gill, and even Julia Roberts via her Red Om Films company — who is also starring. In addition, Leave the World Behind is former POTUS-approved, as Barack and Michelle Obama’s company Higher Ground is involved in production. Netflix reportedly won rights for Leave the World Behind after a bidding war that came down between it, Apple, and MGM.
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If the film adaption can match the critical acclaim of the book, Netflix could have a new thriller hit on its hands. With that, let’s now look at everything we know so far about Netflix’s adaptation of Leave the World Behind. What can we expect from the plot, and how closely will it match the book? Who has been lined up in the cast? When will the film be released? What else should audiences know about Leave the World Behind?
Leave the World Behind: The Plot
The novel centers on a family consisting of Clay and Amanda and their children Archie and Rose as they vacation at an Airbnb in Long Island. There, tension rises when an unfamiliar Black couple arrives at their door and asks to stay. They identify themselves as George and Ruth, the owners of the house, and explain that there has been a blackout. Amanda and Clay are initially suspicious that they could own the house, but George and Ruth reveal themselves as wealthy and highly educated. Issues of race and class between the white renters and Black owners arise against the backdrop of a global catastrophe.
Related: Best Book to Film Adaptations, Ranked
George and Ruth stay at the Airbnb with Amanda and Clay until the power returns as the blackout spreads across the East Coast. Strange noises are heard and animals act odd as the group prepares for an extended time without power. The family leaves the house when their son Archie needs medical attention, but a friend of George’s advises them to return home and hunker down from whatever is coming. The world around them begins to crumble, as the two families look for whatever supplies they can find to survive.
From what we know about the film’s plot, Netflix appears to be sticking with the book’s established formula. The plot synopsis from Netflix is below.
“A family vacation on Long Island is interrupted by two strangers bearing news of a mysterious blackout. As the threat grows more imminent, both families must decide how best to survive the potential crisis, all while grappling with their own place in this collapsing world.”
The best book-to-film adaptations tend to stick close to the source material, and Netflix seems to be following that example with this film. The book racked up numerous accolades and a nomination for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, so the blueprint for success is already there. Additional plot information will likely be revealed as production on Leave the World Behind continues.
Leave the World Behind: The Cast
Netflix has an all-star cast lined up to bring this film to life. As mentioned above, Julia Roberts is leading the cast in addition to serving as producer. Roberts is playing Amanda, the matriarch of the vacationing family. Amanda’s husband Clay is portrayed by Ethan Hawke, most recently known as the “Ray” half of the title in Raymond & Ray.
Related: Here Are Ethan Hawke’s Best Movies, Ranked
Amanda and Clay’s children Archie and Rosie are played by actors Charlie Evans and Farrah Mackenzie, respectively. Swan Song’s Mahershala Ali is playing George “G.H” Washington. George and his wife Ruth are the owners of the Airbnb where Amanda and Clay are staying. Denzel Washington was originally cast as George, though he dropped out before production began. Myha’la Herrold of Bodies, Bodies, Bodies is George’s wife, Ruth. Lastly, the cast is rounded out by none other than Kevin Bacon as Danny, a contractor working for George.
These are all the confirmed names and roles as of now. We can expect more cast information to be revealed in the coming months leading up to the premiere.
Leave the World Behind is set to be released on Netflix on December 8.
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