Mahershala Ali To Co-Star With Julia Roberts In Sam Esmail and Netflix’s ‘Leave The World Behind’

EXCLUSIVE: With his upcoming Blade pic finding a director and his Apple Studios pic, Swan Song, setting a release date, Mahershala Ali doesn’t shows signs of slowing down and now he has found another exciting role to add to his dance card. Sources tell Deadline, the Oscar-winner is set to join Julia Roberts in the Netflix thriller Leave the World Behind with Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail on board to direct and adapt the script.

Deadline first broke news that Netflix had landed the hot package last year when Denzel Washington was circling the role opposite Roberts, which is now the role Ali will play. The film will be produced by Roberts through her Red Om Films banner and Esmail and Chad Hamilton through Esmail Corp. Ruman Alam will exec produce with Red Om’s Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill will also be involved in a producorial capacity

Based on Rumaan Alam’s novel, the film, Leave the World Behind is a story about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong. Suspenseful and provocative, Alam’s third novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis. Since being published in October 2020, the novel has been A Read with Jenna Today Show Pick, a finalist for the 2020 National Book Awards, listed as one of Barack Obama’s Summer Favorites and named A Best Book of the Year from The Washington Post, NPR, Time,  Esquire, Elle among others.

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A production start date is still unknown at this time.

As for Ali, the two time Oscar winner for his performances in Moonlight and Green Book, is not only staying busy on the acting end but producing as well. His Apple Studios film Swan Song, which he is starring in and producing just announced its release date for Dec. 17, as Apple sees this as an awards player this season. He is also gearing up to star as the titular character in Marvel’s Blade, which just landed a director in rising star Bassam Tariq.

On the TV side, he recently received an Emmy nomination for his supporting role in the Hulu series Ramy and also produced the HBO documentary We Are the Dream, which recently won the Emmy in the category of “Outstanding Children’s Program.

He is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.

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