- Friends plays a significant role in Leave the World Behind as it is essential for the character Rose’s development.
- The sitcom’s iconic theme song adds commentary to the film’s dramatic ending.
- Although produced by Barack Obama, the former President’s input came after the script was already written.
The popular sitcom Friends surprisingly plays an important role in the recent Netflix apocalyptic thriller, Leave the World Behind, and director Sam Esmail has now explained why it was crucial to include the beloved comedy. In an interview with Collider, Esmail discussed how vital Friends was for the development of Farrah Mackenzie’s character, Rose, with the lyrics of the theme song providing a fitting commentary on the dramatic ending.
Esmail said, “That was a big conversation that we had for a long time, and you run through all the sitcoms that are these classics that could potentially work but none of them really had that theme song that was so iconic. And, I have to stress this, the lyrics of that song were so perfect for how the film ends. I honestly don’t know what I would have done. There was a point where, after we ran through other options, I think I looked at the team and I said, ‘I don’t think we can afford to lose Friends.’ There’s no show that fits that moment more perfectly than that show, so we had to use all our powers to make sure that we got the rights, and we luckily did.”
Leave the World Behind, released earlier this month, stars Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Myha’la, and Kevin Bacon. It follows two families as they attempt to make sense of the gradual breakdown in technology amid a mysterious cyberattack. Friends has become a comforting show for many viewers, and this is true for Rose, who watches the sitcom whenever she can, even during the world’s collapse. According to Esmail, the show has an “emotional connection” for Rose and serves as a representation of striving for normality even when surrounded by severe abnormal circumstances.
Produced by former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama through their Higher Ground Productions, Leave the World Behind is based on the 2020 novel of the same name by Rumaan Alam. The Obamas’ involvement has led to several conspiracy theories online, which Esmail addressed. He said, “I think the silly thing about the whole thing is President Obama really came on a couple of months before we started shooting, so the script had basically been written and done. He obviously gave notes on the script, but the bones of the story and the sequences were already written.”
Leave the World Behind is available to stream on Netflix and has received positive reviews due to the powerful performances from its A-list cast.