Netflix Acquires Young Barack Obama Movie ‘Barry’

Netflix/Black Bear Pictures/Cinetic Media

Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to Barry, a film about a formative year in the life of a young Barack Obama, following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this month.

According to Deadline, the streaming service beat out several other distributors to land the rights to the critically-acclaimed film from director Vikram Gandhi, which premiered September 10 in Toronto. Netflix was said to have spent $4.5 million to acquire the film, though the final number was not confirmed.

Barry tells the story of one year in the life of the future president, as he attends Columbia University in New York City in 1981 and is faced with “questions about race, culture and identity.”

Newcomer Devon Terrell plays the young Obama, with Straight Outta Compton breakout star Jason Mitchell, Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood), Ashley Judd and Jenna Elfman rounding out the cast.

Barry is the second film this year to focus on the early life of Obama after the Richard Tanne-directed Southside With You, which centered on the fateful first date between a young Obama and his then-legal adviser and eventual First Lady Michelle Robinson.

Barry is just one of several acquisitions the streaming giant made at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Netflix also picked up rights to What Happened to Monday?, a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Glenn Close and Willem Defoe, and the worldwide rights to Oriented, a documentary about three gay Palestinian best friends living in Tel Aviv during Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza.


Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum


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