Obama’s Production Company Lost Project Starring Will Smith
Barack and Michelle Obama are doing more than getting their feet wet in the TV production world. They inked a deal with Netflix shortly after leaving their posts in D.C. and their company, Higher Ground Productions, is slated to release its debut project, American Factory, on the streaming service on Aug. 21.
Plus, Crip Camp, a piece about disabled teens at a camp in New York in the 60s is on track to be released on Netflix in 2020.
But even with its success, Higher Grounds lost a deal involving Will Smith to another major production company, Warner Bros.
Netflix had been vying for the rights of a project starring Smith called, King Richard, a film about Venus and Serena Williams’ dad, Richard Williams.
If it went to Netflix, Higher Ground would have been the producer. But, Warner Bros. got it instead.
Despite the slight setback, United Talent Agency’s Darnell Strom said the future of Higher Ground and the Obamas is nothing short of promising.
“Other production companies have to develop things and then hope it gets on air. The fact that they are working directly through Netflix means they have a guarantee that the content they are developing is going to be [available to 150 million people].”
And Barack has no problem showing up to work. On any given day he can pop up at the Netflix offices, he just does it through an underground tunnel that’s connected to the parking garage. In true Barack form, he chats it up with workers about different projects and reportedly is great at remembering names.
An insider said,
“He’s engaged, spending a lot of time on this, but he’s in the middle of finishing his book. They don’t only want to do politics or things that feel narrowly progressive,” says an agency source. They were open. They weren’t coming in saying, ‘Where is our Game of Thrones?’ It was human scale-type stories. The main thrust was, ‘Don’t think of us as sanitized like a project has to pass a political smell test. Think of us as a general entertainment company.'”
He was also present when Denzel Washington attended a meeting with Netflix chief content offer Ted Sarandos. Still, Washington reportedly has turned down any offers to star in a Netflix movie.
Would you be here for a Will Smith or Denzel Washington project with the Obamas? Tell us in the comments!