Meet the Actor Set to Play Young Obama in Romantic Biopic

Barack Obama
Los Angeles, CA

In December, a romantic biopic about the life of President Barack Obama prior to his life in national politics was announced, with a note that a search for a suitable actor to play a young future president was underway. According to Deadline, the search is over.

The film, titled Southside With You, will be set in the summer of 1989, when the President was a first year Harvard Law student. While the project still has no release date, producers Bob Teitel and Tika Sumpter, along with director Richard Tanne and IM Global, have found their leading man: little-known Zero Dark Thirty actor Parker Sawyers.


Sawyers tweeted his excitement to join the film’s cast Thursday afternoon:

Sawyers will portray a young Barack Obama, deeply in love with Michelle, who will be played by Sumpter, who recently co-starred in Ride Along.

Back in December, producer Tracey Bing described the excitement behind producing “this smart and timeless film that sheds light on one of the great love stories of our time.”

“Richard really captures the essence of that romantic connection between Barack and Michelle that is so evident in the way that they look at each other. We are looking forward to finding the perfect Barack,” Bing said.

As an associate at Chicago law firm Sidley Austin, where Obama first laid eyes on his boss Michelle Robinson, he is said to have persuaded her to go out on a date with him.

The duo reportedly went on a long walk, saw Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and followed it with a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Obama recounted the date at the film’s 25th anniversary celebration, saying, “I took her to this new movie that everybody was talking about, directed by a guy that not that many people had heard of, but it was supposed to be pretty good.”

Southside With You will highlight the events leading up to that date, which reportedly included a kiss in front of a Baskin-Robbins in Chicago’s Hyde Park, a site that was commemorated with a plaque in 2012.

According to Deadline, Sawyers is based out of the U.K., but is an American. The actor reportedly just finished production on Oliver Stone’s Snowden, alongside Joseph Gordon Levitt, and will soon go to work on The Autopsy Of Jane Doe with Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch.

Southside With You will release in 2016.