Filmmaker Oliver Stone managed to make and release a narrative feature film about a sitting U.S. President with W., and it appears that the same might occur with President Barack Obama. An independent film called Southside With You is in the works, though this is not a scathing indictment of presidential policy nor is it a story of Obama’s rise to office—it’s a date movie! Written by Richard Tanne (Worst Friends), the film will revolve around the first date between a young Barack Obama and lawyer Michelle Robinson, who would later become his wife. Set during one summer afternoon in 1989, the picture is said to be in the vein of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset. More after the jump.
Per Deadline, Tanne is set to direct and produce Southside With You for Homegrown Pictures, with production poised to begin in July on location in Chicago. Get on Up star Tika Sumpter is already cast as Michelle, and the search is now on for the actor who will play the first-year Harvard Law student iteration of President Obama.
The film will take place over the course of one afternoon and is based on the true story of Barack and Michelle’s first date, which consisted of visiting the Art Institute, taking a long walk, and catching a showing of Spike Lee’s then-new Do the Right Thing—a film that feels just as relevant now as it did back in 1989.
Though I’ll admit I’m not entirely familiar with the particulars of this date, I’m not sure there’s a movie in there. The two seem like lovely people, but there’s nothing about the date that really strikes me as out of the ordinary or worthy of a feature film adaptation. The focus of Southside With You will apparently be on the romantic aspect of the story, with producer Tracey Bing saying they are “excited to produce this smart and timeless film that sheds light on one of the great love stories of our time.” Alrighty then.
This isn’t the only film about a current politician in the works, as The Spectacular Now director James Ponsoldt continues to develop his Hilary Clinton film Rodham, which focuses on the politician’s formative years.
Watch the First Couple recount their first date below: