So much for that Pelican Brief reunion that everyone was looking forward to, huh? According to Deadline, Denzel Washington is no longer attached to writer/director Sam Esmail’s Leave The World Behind, which would have reunited Washington with Julia Roberts (who he starred with in the aforementioned Pelican Brief). No need to worry, though, because Washington’s role is now being filled by the also-talented Mahershala Ali. He’s no Denzel Washington, because no one is, but nobody’s going to argue that he’s not also very good, right?
Leave The World Behind is based on a book of the same name by Rumaan Alam, and Deadline says it’s about two families that do not know each other but are “forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong.” This isn’t some Adam Sandler vacation romp, though, because this long weekend turns “suspenseful and provocative” and digs into “the complexities of parenthood, race, and class.” In a review for The A.V. Club last year, Ashley Naftule suggested that the book is life “Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel took place in an Airbnb,” with a mysterious incident seemingly cutting off all contact to the world outside of a remote house in the woods and potentially changing life as its characters know it.
Sam Esmail is, as mentioned up above, writing and directing Leave The World Behind for Netflix. Before this, he was the creator of Mr. Robot and directed the first season of Amazon Prime Video’s podcast adaptation Homecoming (starring Julia Roberts). As for Mahershala Ali, his Blade movie is still happening over at Marvel Studios—even though that seemed too cool to be real when it sat on a shelf for a few years—with Bassam Tariq set to direct it. That project still seems too good to be true, so we’ll believe it when we see it.