EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has landed worldwide rights to Barry, the Vikram Gandhi-directed film that drew high praise at the Toronto Film Festival for actor Devon Terrell in his role as a young Barack Obama. This was a hot property and I’d heard several distributors chased it and Netflix went out in front with an initial bid said to be in the $4.5 million range, though I’m not sure what the final price is. Set in 1981 in New York City, the fact-inspired pic revolves around a young Barack Obama as he tries to find his way as a college student in a new city. He is faced with questions about race, culture, and identity in what proves to be a crucial year in the life of the future U.S. president. Barry premiered in the Special Presentations section Saturday, September 10 at Ryerson Theater. It was a crowd pleaser that scored a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Film is a joint production between Black Bear Pictures and Cinetic Media, produced by Cinetic’s Dana O’Keefe and Black Bear’s Teddy Schwarzman and Ben Stillman. It is the first production for John Sloss’ Cinetic. Terrell played the lead in Steve McQueen’s HBO pilot Codes of Conduct, which didn’t get picked up, so this is really his first big role. Gandhi previously directed the SXSW Audience Award winning doc Kumare, and the cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Straight Outta Compton‘s Jason Mitchell, Ashley Judd, Boyhood‘s Ellar Coltrane and newcomer Avi Nash. This is the second film about the formative years of Obama, after Southside With You, which chronicles his first date with future First Lady Michelle Robinson.