Young Barack Obama Biopic Casts Newcomer Devon Terrell, ‘The Witch’ Star Anya Taylor-Joy
You may be thinking, “Hey, didn’t a movie about a younger Barack Obama just premiere at Sundance?” You would be correct — but unlike Southside With You, which centered on the first date between Barack and Michelle Obama, the upcoming film Barry focuses more on Barack pre-Michelle. Newcomer Devon Terrell will play the younger Obama, with The Witch breakout star Anya Taylor-Joy in the key role of a college friend.
THR reports that Terrell will play the title role in Barry, which traces Obama’s college years in New York as he forms important relationships that shape his ideals and pave the way for his future. Taylor-Joy will play a fellow student who befriends Obama. Barry begins filming in April with director Vikram Gandhi, a Vice correspondent who transitioned to filmmaking with the documentary Kumare.
The project was scripted by Adam Mansbach, a writer best known for his profane children’s book Go the F— to Sleep (you may recall the viral video of Samuel L. Jackson reading it). Barry does not yet have a release date, but it does have some competition in Southside With You, which drew comparisons to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise trilogy when it debuted at Sundance.
Terrell is a relative newcomer whose sole credit is Codes of Conduct, the miniseries from 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, which was (according to a recent report) shelved by HBO after McQueen completed production on six episodes. Following her breakout role in hit indie horror The Witch, Taylor-Joy has signed on to star opposite James McAvoy in M. Night Shyamalan’s new horror flick Split, which hits theaters in 2017.